The Best Movie Cinemas in Chennai
The Forum Vijaya is home to one of only two IMAX screens in Chennai | © Chennai vaasi / WikiCommons
Chennai, the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, has a wealth of movie theatres, including many plush multiplexes. To catch the latest Tamil, Bollywood and Hollywood films, follow this guide to the city’s best cinemas.
Luxe by Jazz Cinemas
Located within Phoenix Marketcity, a mall in South Chennai’s Velachery, Luxe is a large multiplex that boasts luxurious features such as plush interiors, premium recliner seats and the city’s first IMAX screen. In total, Luxe can show 11 films at the same time. This relatively new cinema began its operations in 2013 and has been a massive crowd-puller since then. Due to its strategic location within a popular mall, and the advantage of being one of its kind in South Chennai, this is a great choice for movie lovers.
Sathyam by SPI Cinemas
Located in Gopalapuram, the heart of Chennai, Sathyam is the city’s oldest multiplex. When it opened in1974, it was the largest multiplex in Chennai with a total of 1,254 seats. Although bigger multiplexes have emerged in recent years, Sathyam remains one of the city’s most iconic theatres, particularly for Tamil cinema. It is a favourite haunt for Tamil cinema stars, especially during their film release dates. Today, the multiplex has a total of six screens spread across six floors and also offers a range of food options at its many cafes and food stalls. To make a day of it, also visit Blur, Chennai’s most popular gaming arcade (and cafe) that offers both digital console-based games and other activities, such as bowling.
Popular among fans of Tamil movies, Udhayam is one of the oldest functioning multiplexes in Chennai. It began operations in the early ’80s with three screens and later expanded to four. The multiplex covers an area of 1.5 acres in central Chennai. There’s a large courtyard in front that is used by fans for celebrating new releases. Every popular new release in Tamil cinema begins to resemble a festival at Udhayam, with thousands of fans congregating outside the theatre to celebrate their idols with 50-foot tall cardboard cutouts and firecrackers, accompanied by music and dance.
Escape by SPI Cinemas
This modern, plush multiplex was the largest in Chennai when it opened and is located within Express Avenue, a popular mall in Royapettah. Part of the SPI Cinemas family of multiplexes in the city, Escape boasts eight screens and is well-known for its luxurious interior design (SPI Cinemas roped in renowned international interior designers for this task). The innovative elements it incorporates in the customer interface are also a major part of this cinema’s appeal. Escape was the first multiplex in Chennai to introduce touchscreen-based ticket booking booths and the concept of ‘blind movie dates’, where customers could buy tickets without knowing which movie they would watch.
Palazzo by SPI Cinemas
The largest and newest in the line of Chennai’s multiplexes run by SPI Cinemas, Palazzo is located inside the Forum Vijaya Mall in Vadapalani – a neighbourhood that is often considered to be the beating heart of Tamil cinema. This super modern and plush multiplex boasts nine screens, including one of the only two IMAX screens in Chennai. Palazzo is equally popular among English, Bollywood and regional film lovers and features a good mix of titles.
Located along the scenic East Coast Road, nearly 10 km south of Chennai, Mayajaal is a multiplex, full-fledged resort, and entertainment hub, all rolled into one. With a whopping 16 screens, it is India’s largest multiplex. Mayajaal’s programming features a great mix of regional, Bollywood and Hollywood movies. Owing to the distance from the city centre and the number of seats available, the concept of ‘houseful’ is hardly recognised here. The place also offers other entertainment options such as paintball, arcades, and bars and restaurants.
Inox is situated inside City Centre, a mall in Mylapore, and features a total of four screens. Opened in 2007, it is the only major multiplex in Mylapore, an area widely considered the art and entertainment hub of Chennai. Because of this, the cinema draws large crowds, especially during the release of big-budget regional films. Keeping in mind the Mylapore audience, the programming at Inox focuses on Hollywood movies equally. While it is much smaller than other major multiplexes in Chennai, it’s only a short distance away from the iconic Marina Beach. Moreover, the mall offers bowling and turf cricket opportunities.