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Sunday, May 2, 2010

IPL on the big-screens of UAE

BY PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today, 6 April 2010

THE big screens in the UAE invite the screams of fans as the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket tournament comes alive with 3-D effect at many theatres across the country.
The IPL Twenty20 cricket championship has entered the final leg of an exciting season and the tournament has stronger following in the UAE, given the multicultural population of the city.
Nine select cinemas currently across the UAE will provide the cricket enthusiasts with the chance of catching the matches in high-definition quality with the real-time effect of watching the tournament sitting at a stadium.
And fearlessly in the cool darkness of the theatre, the fans can taste the mix-masala showcased by the cheer girls; their performance is usually replaced with advertisements on the mini-screen.
Cinema screenings
About 1,450 people will have the opportunity to watch the last phase of the IPL Twenty20 Cricket tournament at the selected theatres in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah," said patrons of the screening programme, Entertainment and Sports Direct (ESD), which joined with Al Nisr Cinema and Gulf Films, and promoted by investment-equity firm DAR Capital Group, to bring the excitement of the IPL games to the big screen in the UAE.
"The matches are being screened live in Dubai at Lamcy 2 (166 seats), Grand Cineplex 6 near Grand Hyatt (237), Grand Cinecity 5 at Al Ghurair City (138) and Grand Megaplex 15 in Ibn Battuta Mall (140)," said an ESD official.
"The screenings are held at Star Cineplex 2 (231 seats) in Sharjah, at Gulf Cinema 2 (202 seats) in Ras Al Khaimah, at Grand Dana 3 (80 seats) in Fujairah; at National Cinema 4 (150 seats) in Abu Dhabi and at Grand Safeer 3 (123 seats) in Musaffah," he explained.
Arun Rangachari, chairman of DAR Capital Group, said, "More screening programmes in high-definition on large screens have been planned at select hotels and restaurants across the country."
"There are two matches daily and the screenings are at 2.30pm and 6.30pm," he added. "The regular prices will apply for the tickets. The grand finale is on April 25."
Novel Experience
According to Khushi Khatwani of Al Nisr Cinema Company, the theatre screening of IPL matches is unprecedented in the UAE.
"The IPL matches are screened uninterrupted throughout the rest of the season and movie enthusiasts can make advance bookings at the respective theatres not to miss out on the fun and action," he said.
Rangachari said that the big-screen live screening of the IPL matches will be a novel experience for the UAE cricket enthusiasts. The UAE also has a strong history of active participation in international cricket that has enhanced its popularity among residents here.
"In India, the theatre screenings of the matches are a huge hit," he added. "Since the commencement of this year's edition of the IPL, cricketing fans are flocking to the over 650 cinema screens in India that are exhibiting the matches live."
The IPL has eight teams, in its third season, now battling it out: Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Deccan Chargers, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals.
The ESD has acquired exclusive IPL global screening rights, at cinema halls, stadia and public venues, of the matches in the league to be played in Seasons 2010 through to 2019.
"The ESD has tied up with UFO Moviez, the largest satellite based digital cinema network in the world, to facilitate the exhibition of these matches in cinema screens," said Rangachari.

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