Pen Workers Seating Legacy Going Strong (Business Trends)
From the swanky Le Reve in upmarket Bandra to the restored heritage, Opera House, and the renovated Anupam Theatre in Western suburb, Pen Workers has been an integral part of the journey of these three major landmarks in Mumbai ever since their inception. With over nine decades of experience in creating and crafting customised seats for a plethora of clientele, the seating legacy is still going very strong… If there’ one name that has become synonymous with seating comfort for over 92 years in India, it’s none other than Pen Workers. The skill and passion for crafting seating has been nurtured in the family business for four generations! Pen Workers is by far the largest company in India to manufacture and install premium seats, exclusively for cinemas and auditoriums. Anmol Kashmiri, the fourthgeneration entrepreneur, who joined his family business in 1989, takes immense pride in the fact that Pen Workers has been the constant factor in the decades-long journeys of some of the major landmark theatres in Mumbai. And even as these cinemas get facelift with renovations and restoration, the Pen Workers seats continue to bring comfort to their patrons. “Our seats have lasted for years together! Customers who have been with us since 1930s, 40s and 50s are coming back to us. This is primarily because we continue to serve our clientele with the same quality and standards set by our forefathers. Our loyal customers have come back to us and we are serving them back with the same loyalty and passion.” Pen Workers was established in 1924 by Munshiram Gulati, who had migrated to Mumbai the previous year from a village in what is now north-west Pakistan. His grandson, Anmol Kashmiri, heads the family business today. The company gets its name from the quality of wood, which was called the Pen Wood, used to craft cinema hall seats back then. Having started off with a small factory in Mazagaon in south Mumbai, Pen Workers now has one factory each in the north-east and north-west of the Maximum city and a branch office in Malaysia. With over nine decades of experience in creating and crafting customised seats for a plethora of clientele hailing from a wide range of spectrum, the company continues with its legacy…
From New Talkies to SPI Cinemas’ Le Reve, it’s Pen Workers’ Seats All the Way
The posh queen of suburbs, Bandra is indeed one of the most happening places in the city that never sleeps. In fact, the erstwhile Bandra was one of the few suburbs that had its own English theatre, New Talkies.
Heritage Association with Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House, also known as Opera House in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), is India’s only surviving opera house. Situated on Charni Road, near Girgaum Chowpatti beach, the Opera House was inaugurated in 1912 and was acquired in 1952 by Maharaja Bhojraj Singh of Gondal. Also, with the coming of “talkie” movies in the early 1930s, the popularity of cinema increased. In 1935, the Opera House was modified to accommodate movie screenings and fashion shows. In January 1991, the Opera House hosted its last film show. The adjective ‘Royal’ was prefixed to ‘Opera House’ to reflect the fact that its foundation stone was laid during the British Raj in 1909. The area around the theatre is also referred to as the Opera House in Mumbai. On 21 October 2016, it re-opened after a gap of 23 year. The seating, by Pen Workers, enabled a clear view of the stage to all the people seated in the stalls and in the Dress Circle. Right from its inception, the Royal Opera House always had Pen Workers seats, which gave its patrons an enhanced movie viewing feel. The acoustics were created by shaping the ceiling in a manner that permitted distinct audibility that allowed the audience seated in the gallery to hear every word or song from the stage. “If you look at Opera House, you’ll realise, there is no project like it in Asia.” Initially, in May 2001, it was noted that the Opera House was a Heritage building: The historicity of the building and its architecture will be lost if it is not used as a theatre and there should not be a change of user. In May 2008, MUHCC authorized Abha Narain Lambah and her associates to carry out the structural stabilization of the building and its restoration. Abha, the architect, considered the restoration of the Opera House as her dream project.
Comfort Seating for Miraj Anupam Theatre, One of the Oldest Single Screens
Anupam Theatre is one of the oldest theatres in Western Suburbs. Located very close to Goregaon station (East), the theatre started in 1970s as a single screen theatre with 850 seats. Right from the start of the theatre, Pen Workers has crafted seats for the cinema, and the legacy continues even today. In the recent times, the theatre was converted to 2 screens having 500 push-back seats, made by Pen Workers. Well, what sets Pen Workers a class apart from the rest? Anmol asserts: “Pen Workers provide a 5-year warranty on products, which I think is the highest in the industry today, as nobody offers this. It was possible after we started getting everything done in-house and the production happened right in front of us. So we knew well what was being supplied and what was being sold.” Kashmiri adds with pride, “As everything is done in-house it adds to a lot of value and quality, while making the production go on time, which is very critical nowadays. So that’s the innovation we have done in terms of manufacturing.”
theatre was conveniently located at a junction well within walking distance from Bandra Railway station. In the good old times, the first show was always at 4 pm with occasional matinee shows at 11 am. “Catching a movie at New Talkies was an adventure in itself,” says Anmol. Started in 1975, the theatre was taken over by a businessman Rajan Raheja 1996-97. On 1 February 2002, it was renamed as Globus — a swanky new mall-cum-multiplex. It had the customary shiny panelled float glass, dazzling lights, mesmerising window displays, neat angular parking for fancy cars
Mr Kiran Reddy, the owner of Chennai based chain of multiplex SPI Cinemas, took over the property at the end of 2015. La Reve, a new single-screen cinema in Bandra, has replaced Globus cinema. La Reve, meaning ‘dream’ in French, has French-inspired interiors by Chennaibased designer Vikram Phadke. It has a capacity of 259 seats. The theatre always had seats from Pen Workers right from inception of New Talkies. Further, through the takeovers and renovations till date, it has continued with Pen Workers seats, giving its patrons a comfortable movie watching experience.