People

In Conversation With AGS Cinemas’ CEO, Archana Kalpathi!

Box Office Queen!

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After production and distribution, the next step was exhibition. Sathyam and Mayajaal were the only multiplexes in the city and we decided to fill the gap with AGS cinemas. We demolished the Royal theater in Villivakkam and built the multiplex AGS Royal Villivakkam. That is when we realized that building a cinema hall wasn’t as easy – getting approvals, the right team et al. Then we opened the next one at OMR. The third property recently opened at G N Chetty Road.Our model is a little different than the other chains – we own all our properties. We build it from scratch because we believe in end-to-end management; from cleanliness to the complete user experience is controlled by us.

 

Did life change after marriage? Or after having a baby?

Since the very beginning, I was never treated like a girl. I come from a background where women have always been treated in par with men. So when marriage was on the cards, they knew I needed a companion who shared the same views and ideologies as I did.I had an arranged marriage when I was 23 and I married somebody who is very independent. He is my strength in every possible way. The good part about all the influential men in my life is that none of them ever expect me to conform to any rules.  My husband is a hands on guy, even when my son was born, we took equal hours in a day to take care of him so that both of us got our time for our respective businesses. So, I have been blessed.

How does a typical day at work pan out for you?

I wake up early to get my son ready for school. Then I my husband and I have our morning coffee together, as we discuss our work and our schedules. We aren’t involved in each other’s business at all. He is my sounding board and I am his, so we de-stress with a cup of coffee every morning.Once he leaves for work, I have my session of working out. I am at work by 9:30 am. We follow an open office system at work, there are no cubicles. So, everything is transparent at the workplace. After the core operations, finances and new project updates are seen through; I make sure I visit all three properties. I am very meticulous and I like attention to detail. Since it is a customer-facing business, quality and cleanliness is very important. So, the visits are to look into matters of maintenance, quality check and basic operations on the ground. I don’t profess hierarchy. When I’m at the theater, you will see me selling tickets, or at the snack bar getting popcorn ready. I like to be on the floor.

 

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