SPI Cinemas introduces special kids-friendly show
SPI group has decided to introduce a special show for children with learning difficulties called SENS, A Special Show For Special Minds
One of the largest multiplex chains in India, SPI cinemas, has often been the first to introduce pioneering entertainment industry initiatives. Following the hugely successful Do Not Disturb (DND) shows, which was introduced during September last year, SPI group has decided to introduce a special show for children with learning difficulties called SENS, A Special Show For Special Minds.
For the first time in India, the multiplex chain will play movies without dimming the lights, and with reduced sound levels and longer intervals to cater to the needs of autistic children. SPI cinemas aims to create an atmosphere where films are accessible to everyone in society and they've named this initiative 'Cinema For Everyone'.
About the special show, Bhavesh Shah, Head of Experience, SPI Cinemas, says, "People who are autistic can't handle sudden changes in light and sound, and they find it difficult to sit in the same seat without having a conversation with others. These restrictions make it impossible for them to enjoy a film in a normal theatre like others. We felt it's our responsibility to design a movie-watching environment exclusively for such special kids, where they can roam around the theatre and make noise whenever they like."
He goes on to explain the process of designing the concept, saying, "We made the basic changes and conducted a test screening for special kids to observe their unattended needs. It was a great success. We noticed, however, that the kids needed a longer break during the interval. Also their diet is a bit different from ours as they needed easily digestible gluten-free foods. So we've increased the interval duration to 20 minutes and we've updated our menu to suit their needs. To begin with, we plan to screen a bunch of kid-friendly animation films. Based on the observations from these shows, we might make changes to the content in the future."
Bhavesh feels that SPI cinema has a long way to go still. "We are thinking of cinema as a social change-maker. So we're trying to figure out methods that have the potential to make changes not only in the entertainment industry but also in society at large."
SENS shows will be screened on the first Sunday of every month. The first film to be screened will be Jungle Book at Seasons, Sathyam Cinemas in Chennai and The Cinema in Coimbatore on August 5. The multiplex chain will then introduce the show in Mumbai, followed by other screens across India.