I was raised a movie buff by a movie buff mom. I love the feeling of sinking into the theater seat as the lights dim and the screen lights up. The aroma of stale popcorn and the feeling of being stomped on your toes are my personal favorite. Even the blandest movies have a way to keep you hooked when the atmosphere is right. So, that is what I missed the most as a new parent – the excitement of catching every new movie on the big screen, come Friday. As soon as my baby turned three I tried my luck with a Disney princess. The first ten minutes were smoother than the head of Dwyane Johnson, who was the voice of the sidekick, by the way. The happiness was shortlived as the squirmy baby decided that movies should not be any longer than their trailers. The rest of the 120 long minutes she spent kicking the seat ahead of us, folding and unfolding the seat, and showering the aisle with popcorn. Let the judging begin. PVR Playhouse review had to come from my stable, you see.
What is PVR Playhouse, Crazy Mom?
Ok, it’s essentially a magnified version of a parent’s living room. It is PVR’s new movie theater, designed and marketed exclusively to stressed parents. The theater is colorfully designed to resemble a playhouse, has kid-friendly seats, hosts exclusively kid-friendly shows (think Disney and Pixar), and a little more. As soon as the advertisement caught my eye, I Googled it and decided that the experience had to be had, sooner than later. I had been meaning to catch Coco for a while, but you know, toddler issues. So, Coco it was!
The Lowdown of the Experience
The tickets were not more expensive than other PVR experiences. They cost us INR 200 a piece. A disclaimer came with the purchase – “there would be ambient lights and screaming children. F#$% O** now if you can’t handle!” It wasn’t exactly that, but you get the drift.
The Playhouse shared a common lobby with IMAX and 4DX experiences, so the choice of snacks was large. They had pizzas, burgers, chaats, momos, pastry and some more confectionary, over and above the standard popcorn, soda, and nachos. The entrance was playful, and we had high hopes as we approached the hallowed portals. At first glance, it was the theater of parents’ dreams. The walls were decked with lively Snakes and Ladders illustrations, the seats were colorful (albeit uncomfortable and nothing like the advertised bean bags), and most importantly, a lifesize chute ran down the entire length of the hall, that ended in a ball pit. It was magical for my child. She immediately ran off to compete with the other kids to get her ‘downtime’ on the King slide.
I wasn’t super impressed though. I mean, how long till the child gets bored of this slide, and then starts whining anyhow? There should have been more distractions, I felt.
The place filled up decently for a school night, with excited parents settling down while the kids raged about. They preceded the actual movie with a thirty minute Frozen short. That was the only ‘movie’ my daughter saw this night. Believe it or not, the whole two hours that followed, she climbed up the ‘ladders’ and ‘down the chute’ – the entire, frikkin’ time. In her experience, Coco is about great ambient music for slide riding. She was not bored and wanted five extra minutes after the credit rolled. Seriously, toddlers!
PVR Playhouse: My Verdict
PVR has taken audience segmentation to a whole new level with this. Airlines had tried segmenting families by offering ‘child-free’ zones. It sounded crass, intolerant and derogatory to parents. PVR has just flipped the coin and made magic. To be in the company of other patient toddler parents is a blessing, isn’t it?
If you are the kind of parent who’s into animation movies, is desperate for the theater experience, and has grown immune to shrieking children during a movie – PVR Playhouse is your best friend. I actually saw the entire movie for the first time in my motherhood, without having to apologize constantly to a disapproving audience. Oh, I freaked anyhow, begging my child to slide ‘without the Whoop sound’ that she was making on her way down. But, after a while, I calmed down. She was not alone, and the parents were not frowning. They were just glad to have partners in crime. My daughter was so exhausted with the ‘up and down’ that she slept like a log soon after. I still think it is not absolutely safe for very small toddlers since the step climb is in the low ambient light. But, I would do it again, with lesser guilt next time. The place is given out for birthday parties, and I feel its worth a try. My score – 7/10! Well done, PVR!
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