For a cinematic experience

Published: 29 October, 2011 03:28 IST | Subhash K Jha |

...It is not just bigger homes and better places that stars look for. Home theatres too have become an integral part of celebrity homes

...It is not just bigger homes and better places that stars look for. Home theatres too have become an integral part of celebrity homes

Who has the best home theatre in Bollywood? That's a sawaal two crore ka. That's precisely the amount of money a good home theatre costs. When John Abraham re-designed his home, the first space that he re-invented was the home theatre. John now boasts of having the best home theatre in Mumbai, with the most sophisticated film-viewing equipment available in the market. He's also working on collecting the best DVDs from world cinema.

Hi-teh: Shah Rukh Kha

Who does John watch films with? Ah, he prefers selected company, and that too of the opposite sex. Male friends can munch their popcorn elsewhere. Shah Rukh Khan on the other hand, is a people's person. He likes to invite all his friends--and that includes Arjun Rampal and wife, Bobby Deol and wife and of course Karan Johar, to watch the latest films at his sophisticated home theatre.

King Khan
Shah Rukh personally requests for prints of the new Hindi releases and watches them with his friends at home, a couple of days before they hit the theatres on a Friday. At times, he gets so involved with the films that he invites the entire cast and crew of the film, over for an impromptu party. That's exactly what happened when Shah Rukh saw Farhan Akhtar's Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. He invited the entire cast of the movie for a party along with other guests.

No tivkets: Dino Morea  has an elaborate home theatre

For a superstar like Amitabh Bachchan or Shah Rukh Khan it is impossible to step out to watch a film in a theatre with the aam junta. Katrina Kaif says, "I love the feeling of being inside a theatre with an audience.

Not so fashinable: Madhur Bhandarkar, director prefers watching films
the old-fashioned way

I love the rush of adrenaline each time they scream in one collective voice. Unfortunately it's impossible for me to be out there even in a burqa. The crowds are not a threat. But, my presence becomes a major distraction in a movie theatre." Katrina intends to install a home theatre when she moves into a bigger home. "But, it's no fun watching a film alone, even if you get the ambience right. I mean you can have a large screen, plush seats and popcorn. But where's that excitement of a real audience at home?"

That explains why filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar prefers watching films the old-fashioned way. He goes to non-mutiplex single-theatres. "Usska excitement kuch aur hai. In India, the man who buys his ticket at the box-office window and enters the darkened theatre is privy to a magical world. I love entering the world."

As far as causing a disturbance or getting mobbed is concerned, Bhandarkar feels the stars are unable to enjoy films with a live audience.  If you've had the privilege of watching a film with Kamal Hassan in Chennai in his stupendous home theatre, you would know, watching movies at home is not just a luxury for stars, it is a necessity. Kamal Haasan had a custom-built home-theatre installed, long before it became fashionable.

The Best
In Hyderabad, Telugu-Tamil-Hindi star Rana Daggubati who belongs to an illustrious film family, has one of the best home theatres. Says Rana, "I have a DLP projector which plays Dolby, DTS and THX sound. I watch a lot of films regularly. The experience is definitely not the same as watching films in a movie theatre. But, I prefer to watch new films in the theatre."

Arguably, filmmaker Sanjay Gupta has the best home theatre in Bollywood. And he is rightly proud of it. "My home theatre is large enough to accommodate more than 30 people comfortably. I also have a huge home theatre with a giant screen and full HD projection. I also have state-of-the-art THX Ultra2 sound system that has been professionally calibrated. People can sit comfortably on leather recliners. I watch films with my family and friends. We enjoy every movie genre but action extravaganzas are a lot more fun."

Actor Sonu Sood feels that the thrill of watching a film in a public theatre is unparalleled. Though he has a home theatre, he prefers watching films in theatres. Says Sood, "I used to watch a lot of films on my home theatre. But because of my schedule I am unable to do so. But whenever friends come home we watch films together. And it's fun, though I miss going out into theatres."

Public theatre
Director Kunal Kohli watches Hindi films in public theatres and foreign films in his home theatre. He explains why. "I watch Hindi films in public theatres, unless I miss one because of work. Foreign-language films get edited or don't get released here at all, so I prefer to see them at home. I've a Marantz amplifier and Jamo speakers.

Home theatre is a great experience. But nothing beats the experience of watching a film in a public theatre. That's when you come to know the real truth about cinema." Dino Morea, who has an elaborate home theatre misses the fun and thrill of watching films with the aam junta.

"I have a 5.1 surround-sound equipment, tall JBL speakers with a Denon amplifier. I watch a lot of films at home. And even though I am joined by friends I miss the awesome experience of watching films in a movie theatre." Singer-composer Himesh Reshammiya is quite happy watching all his films at home.

Says the singer happily, "I have an eight-seater home theatre which is designed by the same people who have designed Cinemax. So the quality of the audio and the visual is very good." Having gone into raptures over his ghar ka bioscope, Himesh concedes, "There's nothing to beat the experience of watching a film with the junta."

Sammir Dattani too agrees there's no experience to beat the one in the public theatre. "I'm a big gadget fan and love my home-theater system. It's great to have a movie-like experience at home. I set it up three years ago, got a panasonic projector, which projects onto a 110-inch screen.

This is connected to an onkyo 7.1 THX certified amplifier to enjoy the complete experience. I think having a home theater is great fun though watching a film at a cinema hall near you is another experience and can never be replaced by the home theatre.

Also DVDs are out much later after the release, so the thrill of a first day first show is still experienced at a cinema hall. But the good part is I can watch my favourite films and classic at home enjoying almost the same experience repeatedly.Also not to forget with HD television in India now, it is great to catch up sporting events at home with stadium like clarity and sound."

SRK's kicks it off
Shah Rukh Khan requested for a print of 'Rann' to kick-start his newly-constructed home theatre at his residence. "Shah Rukh specifically wanted to inaugurate his home theatre with a Bachchan starrer. Luckily, 'Rann' was on release this week. So he asked Karan Johar to quickly dial Mr. Bachchan who put him on to the producers of 'Rann'. The producers gladly arranged for a print of 'Rann' to be delivered to SRK's place," said a source close to the actor. The film on media has been produced by Madhu Matenna and Sheetal Talwar. After watching the film, Shah Rukh sent an appreciative SMS to the film's producer which read, "Very kind of you to send the film across. Very intense very topical � good performances all round. The viewpoint is very current."

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