Zee plans entertainment complexes in 27 cities

Entertainment company Zee group is dishing out a different menu this time. It is planning to set up a chain of entertainment complexes covering 27 Indian cities. The group says these complexes will be the ultimate in entertainment. For the purpose of implementing the ambitious project, the group has recently set up a new company, E-Citi.

The first three entertainment complexes will come up in Mumbai (with two complexes) and Ahmedabad (with one). These complexes will be ready by January 2001.

The core of these complexes will be cinema multiplexes. In addition, there will be everything conceivable for an average Indian middle class family in entertainment and leisure available at these complexes. E-Citi has evolved the concept of food courts, discos, pubs and bowling alleys to go with cinema screens, shopping malls and restaurants. It will be a "family experience," says Sanjay Das, who is in charge of the project. Mr Das says the project is past the drawing board stage.

Zee group chairman Subhash Chandra is said to be personally interested in the project. His target is an entertainment complex for every Indian town with a population over 1 million. True to his style, he wants E-Citi to examine details, such as the tastes of large chunks of population, cultural and entertainment demands and the current facilities available in these cities. E-Citi has already commissioned surveys in some of the cities where the complexes are planned. Each complex will cater to the specific needs and demands of the target population, says Mr Das.

The complexes in Mumbai will be located at Worli and the Andheri-Kurla Road. The group will invest over Rs 100 crore into the Mumbai project. At Ahmedabad, the cost has been estimated at Rs 30 crore.                   

Besides the two complexes planned for Mumbai, E-Citi is also talking to the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) to acquire a multiplex complex that CIDCO has started building in the satellite town of Vashi in New Mumbai.