Welcome to dreamland
What is it like to watch a film in a Parisian theme Theatre, big on feedback?
The interiors are done up in white, with the lone contrast reflecting in the doors, frames and upholstery
It sure feels like a dream. We’ve stepped out of Bandra's heat and dust and into a space that looks like it has leaped out of the set of a French movie — stark white interiors punctuated by black accents and a pop of red coming from the framed artwork that adorns the walls. We're at Le Rêve, the newest offering from Chennai-based SPI Cinemas.
While SPI Cinemas is well known in South India, this is the first time that they have ventured into Mumbai, or anywhere outside of Tamil Nadu. Adding another first to the list is the fact that this is the only single-screen on their roster, taking the place of the now-defunct Globus Cinema located off Hill Road.
The theatre can seat 259 people at a time
Le Rêve — which means 'the dream' in French — aspires to define Parisian sophistication.
Designed by Vikram Phadke, it features marble flooring, pristine white walls with trims and mouldings, and coffered ceilings. As we walk through the hallway, we can’t help but admire the contrast provided by the stylish wrought iron balustrades and chandeliers, all in black. Ambient music — French tunes, of course — flows from the invisible speakers around every corner.
Pick from three available seasonings and make your own popcorn
SPI Cinemas is known for its hospitality in Chennai. The staffers, especially the ushers, are well mannered and efficient. We were also informed that every little detail — from the seating to the food you eat — is tested out by an Experience Team before being introduced at any theatre.
The 259-seater theatre comes with state-of-the-art technology, and we try it out by watching Rock On 2. While the ultra high-definition 4k resolution and Dolby Atmos sound system is wasted on this movie, we imagine it would work wonderfully on the likes of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
(Above) There are feedback screens at the concessions counter, and (below) outside the washrooms as well
At intermission, we head straight to the concessions counter, which sits to the left of the entrance. We’re expecting regular cinema hall fare — popcorn and nachos — but we’re pleasantly surprised at the offerings, which include a Caesar Salad (Rs 200) and even a dainty little dessert called Flak (Rs 180). We’re told that all the food is prepared fresh at the in-house kitchen. These don’t belong in a theatre, we think. Later, we learn that Michelin-star chef Mickaël Besse, who acts as a culinary consultant to SPI Cinemas, has drawn up the menu.
Even if you don’t try either of the above, what you must try is the popcorn (Rs 140 onwards). They even have a DIY option, where you can pick from three seasonings — sweet chilli barbecue, sour cream and onion, and nacho cheese — and make your own customised popcorn. To sip on, we pick the Cold Coffee (R110) and the Hot Chocolate (R200), both of which leave nothing more to be desired. Very soon, you will be able to enjoy all the menu offerings at a café coming up on the floor above.
The more time we spend here, the more we come to realise how much the little details matter. It’s not just the popcorn. The washrooms are designed with little digital screens where you can provide feedback about anything that wasn’t up to the mark. That’s not all. If you’re watching a movie and find that, for instance, the AC is turned down too low, all you have to do is send a WhatsApp message to the operations manager and he will personally take care of it.
A lot of thought has gone into making the Le Rêve experience as personalised as possible. We’d happily lose ourselves in this dream, over and over again.
At 4th and 5th floor, M&S Building, Waterfield Road, Bandra (W).
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