Indian filmmaker’s company to manage cinemas across Saudi Arabia



Mukta Arts, owned by Indian filmmaker Subhash Ghai, has entered into an agreement with Al Othaim Investment Company of Saudi Arabia, to establish and operate cinemas across the kingdom. The operations will be carried out through Mukta A2 Multiplex WLL., its Bahrain subsidiary.

The agreement follows Saudi Arabia’s push to develop its entertainment landscape after the 35-year ban on theatres was lifted in 2017. The kingdom’s tier-two and three cities are the key focal points for expansion as these are the cities experiencing dynamic growth.

The agreement is a testimony of the cooperation between Al Othaim group with its footprint in real estate and the experience of Mukta A2 Cinemas in the movie exhibition business.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Al Othaim group to help build out the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s fledgling exhibition market,” Rahul Puri, managing director, Mukta Arts Ltd said. “We are excited to add our experience and ethos in providing world-class entertainment to the region to follow up the stellar success we have found in Bahrain with the properties we manage there. We are deeply committed to this project and are humbled by the faith shown in us. We look forward to the partnership and the value it brings," he added.

The move gives a boost to the expansion plans for the cinema exhibition business of Mukta Arts Ltd, which controls over 100 screens, through Mukta A2 Cinemas Ltd, subsidiary company, Mukta A2 Multiplex WLL, subsidiary in Bahrain, and through its joint ventures. The company, though not engaged in direct investment, has positioned itself through contractual agreements focusing on providing management and operations services.

Mukta is not the first company in the cinema industry to explore the Middle East market. In 2018, PVR Cinemas entered a deal with UAE-based Al Futtaim to expand into the market. Carnival Cinemas had announced in 2018 that it was planning to operate 500 screens in the kingdom over the next five years. However, the plans have not yet materialised.

It is however, unclear at this time how many screens Mukta A2 Cinemas would manage at the launch.

Ghai, an Indian film director, producer, and screenwriter, spearheaded several commercially hit film projects during the ‘80s and ‘90s in Bollywood. Aside from operating the production company Mukta Arts, he also runs a talent school for budding artistes called Whistling Woods.


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