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Ajay Devgn to buy 100 single screen theatres: Will it resolve future box office clashes?

The move to acquire theatres is, perhaps, a pre-emptive measure to avoid clashes at the box office between his future films and other biggies.

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Our Correspondent

Ajay Devgn's success with Golmaal Again notwithstanding, the box office battles with Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan seem to have taken a toll on him. The actor is planning a pre-emptive strike against any future clashes by buying over 100 single screen theatres across the country. 

According to a report in the tabloid, Mumbai Mirror, the actor has already acquired six single-screen theatres in Uttar Pradesh, which he plans to transform into state-of-the-art multiplexes. The news was confirmed by Devgn's spokesperson. 

The actor plans to target regions that have a sizeable audience for Hindi cinema but lack amenities or multiplexes. The report quoted the source as saying, "Ajay will be running these theatres as NY Cinemas, the initials of his children, Nysa and Yug Devgn. One of the theatres he has taken over is Om Palace Cinema in UP's Hapur. He has also acquired five other cinemas in Raebareli, Ghaziabad, Agra, Phul Khiriya and Allahabad, and plans to take over 100 more screens across India in the coming year. His team is already working on the idea." 

Devgn already owns a production company, Ajay Devgn films, and a VFX studio, NY VFXwaala. 

The move to acquiring single screens arrives after the actor faced several clashes with other biggies at the box office in recent years. 

His latest film, Golmaal Again, released a day after Secret Superstar, starring Aamir Khan. Golmaal Again was the bigger winner, bagging an impressive Rs200 crore in gross collections.

In 2016, the actor was involved in an ugly war of words with Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan when his directorial debut, Shivaay (2016) clashed with Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. The professional battle resulted in a breakdown of the 25-year relationship of close friends, Kajol and Karan Johar as well. 

Earlier this year, the actor postponed the release of Baadshaho, after Shah Rukh Khan's Raees and Hrithik Roshan's Kaabil dates were announced. It proved to be a good decision, as Kaabil and Raees had a clash at the box-office. 

Devgn has a busy 2018 with the shooting of the Taanaji Malusare period film, Taanaji, set to begin. The actor is also a part of the next installment of the Dhamaal franchise, Total Dhamaal, and a romantic comedy with Tabu. He is currently shooting for Rajkumar Gupta's film, Raid in Lucknow.

The move to acquire theatres is, perhaps, a pre-emptive measure to avoid any damage to his future films. For instance, reports suggest that Total Dhamaal might see itself pitted against the Aamir Khan-Amitabh Bachchan starrer, Thugs of Hindostan, in 2018 Diwali weekend.

In a 2016 survey by Global Innovation Index, India ranked 54th out of 128 nations in terms of the number of theatrical screens. The country boasts 6,000 single screens and almost 2,500 multiplexes in total. However, India produces the largest number of films every year. This skewed ratio is what makes it inevitable for big budget film clashes at the box-office. 

The presence of additional screens might help Devgn counter the mass appeal of Aamir Khan's film while bolstering the public image as well.

This might be a good business decision after all.