Ajay Bijli, the man who has proved to be a pioneer for transforming the idea of entertainment through movies for Indian audiences. He is the founder, MD, and chairperson of PVR Ltd., which was founded in 1997 at Saket (Delhi). Ajay has made his fortune by building the chain of the multiplex in India. Today, almost after 18 years PVR cinemas are running successfully in about 72 cities of India and Sri Lanka.
EDUCATION AND EARLY LIFE
Ajay Bijli was born on February 9, 1967. He completed his Bachelor of Art Honours (Commerce) at The Hindu College, Delhi, and then pursued the Owner/President Management Program at Harvard Business School. Ajay hails from a well-to-do business family. Hence, he knows about business ethics since his youth days.
Ajay Bijli started working at the young age of 22, by giving assistance to his father in their family transportation business (Amritsar Transport Company, Delhi). Being a loyal son, he gave his 100% devotion to their family business but he is not feeling passionate about this. He clearly knows that this business was his grandfather’s dream, not his! But he had no idea what he is passionate about, so he remained quiet for now.
When he got married to his high schoolmate Selena in April 1990, that he gathered some courage to speak to his father and told him that, he wanted to do something all alone, something outside their family business. But again, the question was the same what to do and from where and how to begin?
However, soon he came across a business that was acquired by his father in past and it was the Priya Cinemas in Delhi. But Priya cinemas were not doing well as they have lost their reputation. So, Ajay Bijli decided to take over this business and from here his journey to find his passion has begun.
CAREER BEFORE PVR
Now when Ajay Bijli acquired control over Priya cinema, he gathered a depth knowledge of the surrounding markets and did a broad exploration of what people like to see. And here he took a chance of screening Hollywood movies whereas people were more into Hindi motion movies at that time. Simultaneously, he also managed to connect with some Hollywood studios as well. Ajay felt that Priya cinema needs to be renovated. Therefore, he remodeled the theatres with new projectors, comfortable seats, Dolby sound system. And with this Priya cinema has begun to pick up again.
But the future is uncertain and you never know what is coming your way. Later, after the unexpected death of his father, a fire accident broke out at their well-established transport business which has made things more difficult for Ajay both financially and emotionally. Now he has to decide about his future course of life; he talked to his mother about introducing multiplexes in India.
FORMATION OF PVR
At that time multiplex was a new concept for Indians, but seeing it abroad he was confident that it will work here, as they could release several movies at the same time. Here the main question was how to go for it? So, he did intense research on it and came across an Australian production house “Village Roadshow”, which was finding their ways to India around the same time. Ajay met with the MD of Village Roadshow in Singapore and they agreed to a joint venture named Priya Village Roadshow (aka, PVR).
GROWTH AND SUCCESS
In 1997, they established PVR Anupam in Saket, the first-ever four-screen cinemas in India. Now the only problem was whether the Indian audience would accept the idea of the smaller screen or not, Ajay had no choice except to wait so he left this question on time to answer. However, the concept worked and the queues were unending. They started expanding their business around Delhi.
Now when Ajay was busy in expanding his business again the misfortune stuck his way. In 2001, the attack of 9/11 turned things in a different direction, the business environment has changed globally. Followed to this Village Roadshow didn’t want to expand their business further in India and decided to leave. But this doesn’t let Ajay Bijli down, he is a confident man. He passionately focused on expanding his business and choose to consult his mentor Sunil Mittal, the man behind Bharati Airtel. Then conducted an IPO for funding his brand and raised an amount of Rs. 100 crores.
Soon the business persons of India had understood the capability of multiplex markets and started investing in multiplex cinemas, some of the PVR’s biggest competitors were INOX, BIG Cinemas, Cinepolis, and so on. Later in the year 2012, Ajay Bijli acquired Cinemax, the largest cinema chain in India.
It was a turning point for PVR, it has not only become the largest cinema chain in India but also transformed into a brand named PVR Pictures. Ironically, his efforts worked out and PVR Pictures has produced some blockbuster movies like Tarre Zameen Par, Golmaal Returns, Omkara, All the Best, and many more. It made them the largest independent wholesaler for Hollywood movies in India.
Ajay has been honored with several titles such as, “International Exhibitor of the Year” at Cine Awards, Hongkong, “The Theatre World Newsmaker of the Year”, “Signature Youth Icon”, “Most Admired Multiplex Professional of the Year” at CMO Asia’s Multiplex Excellence.
Ajay Bijli is a man who has made a fortune for himself by finding his passion and trusting in his doings. He has picked his own private company to make his way with expect for going in his family transport business. He is an inspiration for several people who tends to find their passion and dreams big to have a successful life.
The inspirational story of Ajay Bijli is a boost of inspiration and motivation. Hope you like the entire story.