A little more than a theatre, a little less than a playground

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A little more than a theatre, a little less than a playground

PVR created a lot of buzz with its new Playhouse format at Noida's Superplex. We find out if Playhouse really is what they say it is - a theatre for kids.

A little more than a theatre, a little less than a playground A view of the Playhouse auditorium in PVR Superplex, Noida

Colours, crayons, cartoons, slides and swings — you might think I am talking about a playschool. I'm not, but you are partly right. It’s a Playhouse!

What is the big deal, though? Isn’t it just another theatre? Well, it is, but it’s one of a kind. For those of you still unaware of the new PVR Superplex at Logix City Centre in Noida, let me tell you that it’s got 15 screens and 5 movie formats under one roof. And Playhouse is one of the new formats PVR has introduced.

I can’t deny I was intrigued when I came to know about it. Besides, when a multiplex (a Superplex, in this case) opens up in your neighbourhood, you can’t help but check it out once. And so was the case with me.

What should I watch, I thought. Batman Vs Superman or Kung Fu Panda 3? It would be exciting to see the two superheroes take on each other. But the panda could make you laugh. I decided to see what Po was up to now.

As I entered the auditorium, the splash of colour inside the theatre took me by surprise. The seats, the walls, the slide — yes, there is a slide inside the auditorium — looked right out of a children’s colouring book. And bean bags to lounge on! Where do you find bean bags inside a theatre? Among the regular seats, there was one which looked more like a sofa and was placed bang in the centre. I wondered why there were different types of seats. Perhaps to add some variety. With only 49 of them, the auditorium wasn’t very big, but it was quite cosy.

My seat didn’t have a bean bag but had just the perfect viewing position. A few minutes into the movie and I realised that the kids were really into it and were not creating any ruckus, which they do sometimes in theatres. Here, they felt at home. In fact, I was thrown back more a decade to my own schooldays. I kept looking at the slide every once in a while to see if it just had decorative value. A 4-year-old soon dispelled my doubts. As it turned out, the slide was meant for children aged 4 to 12. And there went my chance of reliving my teens!

Just when I thought it was a regular movie screen with a few bean bags and a slide thrown in to add some novelty, I found out that there was also a special menu for kids. And there is a dedicated staff of two female child minders per show to manage children above 2 years old. Even the tickets were priced economically, starting at Rs 150. It occurred to me that this cartoon-character-themed theatre can be a birthday-party destination for kids in the city. In such bookings, the theatre lets the host pick a movie for screening. How cool is that!

The movie didn't disappoint either. Po was as funny as ever, and this time around, there were more pandas to notch up the fun quotient. I found the antagonist even funnier — he described himself as “the maker of widows”. Po struggles to master his inner "chi", finds his father and then takes on his new rival. With a bit of philosophy and truckloads of fun, the panda triumphed.

With Playhouse, PVR has added a new dimension to the theatre experience. Where else do you find a theatre especially for children? For oldies, it's a way to recapture childhood. For kids, it's a little more than a theatre and a little less than a playground.