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Review of Chennai by a Chennaite - South India

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Entertainment - Changing Trends in Chennai, India


Entertainment! The connotation of the word has changed considerably even in a conservative city like Chennai over the last couple of years. Gone are the days, when a classical music recital or a night out at movies meant entertainment. Taking its cue from developed IT Hubs like Bangalore or the Cybercity Hyderabad, Chennai now has everything suiting to the tastes and people’s likes and choices. Be it music concerts, movie halls, bowling alleys, go karting, Chennai has it all. Breaking away from the blues of monotonous chores in the IT industry, these forms of entertainment have emerged more as a necessity for a lot of youngsters-to renourish and energize themselves for the upcoming week of heavy work.

Talk about entertainment, today's segment of population working in the IT industry need a break and ECR road becomes the most sought choice for them. On weekends, a drive to Mahabalipuram or Pondicherry is what they find de-stressing. The number of two wheelers and light weight vehicles have increased and people prefer that more and they use it for leisure like pleasure biking on ECR Road. People working in the industry tell that this is one of the best de-stresser for the kind of work and toil they go through everyday.

Says, Manoj, a software professional, “Three years back there was nothing like ECR. After 2002, ECR has developed and now night life has improved a lot.”

Chennai is changing with the times. The city has a lot of hip hop places where Gen X can hang out and party late into the nights.

Sathyam Cinemas turns out to be one of the hep and happening places over the weekend. Be it a movie or just catching up with friends, the rush here is remarkable.

If you are among those who do not get ticket for a movie, you can have coffee at Quickies and plunge into Chinese food at Noodle house, just opposite the theatre. The rush at cinema halls has led to the trendsetters like INOX and PVR cinemas eyeing Chennai as a hotspot after Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata.


INOX has now become a hot spot in Chennai and with that the cinema lovers have one more place to go for catching up their favorite movies. Another aspect here is that, as compared to how cinema halls used to be there before 5 years, things have changed drastically in the recent past. If you take Sathyam cinema for example, they are using a lot of new marketing strategies. These are aimed at reaching out to customers. For example, Sathyam cinema came up with the concept of “The Q is dead.” Yes, you do not have to stand in long queues for hours together to get the cinema tickets.

Get online to, go to the online booking segment, choose your seat, and book your ticket. It’s as simple as that. Now, added facilities have come along the way. Want to snack during the interval or want to munch pop corns and have a cool glass of coke or a hot sip of coffee? That too right at the place where you are seated? Sathyam offers that as well. You can get snack and drink right to the place where you sit. So, you don’t need to stand in queue for grabbing a munch too!

Also as Sathyam is becoming more, marketing–savvy, they are getting closer to customer, says Ashwin, a marketing consultant. Ashwin adds on to say, “You may call it coming of age of "services branding" in Chennai.” Further, one of the main reasons apart from often-quoted things like competition is the fact that these businesses are now run by professionally educated second and third generation entrepreneurs. Also when you talk about the increase in the snack price, there is this concept called "margin of indifference". Some brands generally increase price by price points and that doesn’t make the customers feel the pinch. For instance, in the past 5 years, the price rise has been 2 rupees to 8 rupees. Ever observed that? As competition is heating up, theatres have started renovating to offer better and more professional environment for the cinema lovers.

Events like theatre festival pulls in a lot of young, hep theatre lovers. Apart from the traditional music, events like the November Fest had a lot of young crowd enjoying the rapture of fusion music. Bands like Euphoria, Indian Ocean performed in Chennai too! And yes, Chennai is gradually shedding the conservative outlook and grooving to the fusion tracks belted out as the tickets to these concerts sell like hot cakes.

For shoppers, after Spencer Plaza, malls like Citicentre have become a popular place to hang out. Also, how can one leave Mayajaal with its different screens, bowling alley and food court? This is one place which takes you off the city and also offers you diverse entertainment for their visitors. A new go karting centre is already in place at the complex. Want to laze at pool side with a drink? Go to a beach resort. Beach resorts on ECR have become a perfect getaway for weekend. If you are not among the quiet ones and love loud music and dance and a hardcore party animal, how about a dance at Pasha, Dublin, Speed or Flames?

The rapid pace at which the number of restaurants is increasing is indeed worth an observation. The more conventional hotels like Saravana Bhavan and Murugan Idli shop which is prominent for its exclusive south Indian cuisine, has been able to sustain and also seen increasing number of people who come to have different south Indian delicacies. So, has the development of new joints like Pizza Hut or dhabas affected their business? Not really! The business of hotels like Saravana Bhavan who has established a brand name still has people flocking in.

The professionals know what they want. Work for five days and enjoy the weekend. Also Manoj adds that the three beaches, Marina beach, Besant Nagar beach and the one at Thiruvanmiyur is having a lot of crowd on weekends and the whole coastline is being used up. The city is racing far to development and is not really far behind cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad in the south. 

Contributing Writer : Sharada Balasubramanian [email protected]

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