In an industry that has always been male centric, here is a woman who has carved out a niche for herself. Varsha Abhay met Archana Kalpathi, the CEO of AGS Cinemas, at her elegant home situated in the posh area of Poes Garden in Chennai. The mansion is as classy as the lady itself, with her grandmother’s possessions at the entrance, her son’s Lego creations at every table, a stunning jet black piano gifted by her father and a terrace garden she is passionate about, all with a very minimalistic design sense.
Life wouldn’t have been what it is if it wasn’t for Archana’s father and her two uncles, who AGS cinemas is named after. She owes her success to the pillars of her life- her father, two uncles, husband and her 7 year old son. After finishing her Masters degree in the US, she joined her father and uncles in the family business of film production and distribution. They knew she had entrepreneurship written all over her and much to their expectations, she created a business plan and opened the first AGS cinemas in Villivakkam. From her very first project to her recent distribution assignment for Kabali, she has had her A-game on throughout. She is now the proud CEO of the successful theater chain in Chennai.
Tell us about your experience working in the theatre business.
I started when I was 23 years old, which was a slight disadvantage -also because I’m a woman. The industry doesn’t take you seriously enough initially. Also, the theater business wasn’t as organized as it is now. It was a big risk at that time. But my uncles and my father had my back and let me have a completely free hand at establishing it. They are my role models. If you see the logo of AGS, the line connects all three letters, that’s how they are in real. They are united.