IMAX Wadala or PVR IMAX? Rahul Desai gives his verdict

Posted: November 12, 2014 by moifightclub in cinema
Tags: , , , ,

I’m going to refrain from telling you how earth-shatteringly strong (literally) I think Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is.
Instead, having watched it on two of Mumbai’s IMAX screens, I’m going to offer you a simple comparison and tell you which screen offers us a better experience. And before you hardened film reviewers roll your eyes at how we call it an ‘experience’, I suspect you’re not going to want to contradict Nolan’s words when he says he designs every film of his—first and foremost—to be an experience.

But we digress.

It’s hard to come to a conclusion about which IMAX screen offers more, especially because you can watch Interstellar for the first time only once. And that first time is always special, irrespective of where one watches it. There’s also no better film to judge the screens on, because more than an hour of footage has been shot on IMAX cameras. And the other two hours has enough exposition and action to keep you fascinated.

The only way to get a 100% pure unadulterated comparison would be if I could wipe out my memory after the first time to start afresh, or perhaps clone myself for parallel time zone views—which sound like two famous movie plots on their own.

Without getting too technical, let me try anyway:



My first time. Added to it was the thrill of watching it before Friday. So the comparison is already skewed, but there are cold hard facts difficult to ignore.
I managed to put it in perspective only after going to IMAX Wadala two nights later, but a few things stand out here. The sound—which is a major part of Interstellar being effective—is excellent here. It truly engulfs a viewer and takes us very near to how Nolan wanted it to sound universally. The sound design, which many find ‘flaws’ in, is elevated to another level here. This can also work against the larger-than-life images shown on a screen that occasionally feels too small for the environment it portrays. Where has that happened before? Gravity—yes, correct. Another IMAX experience (3D too), but it felt a bit underwhelming here. And that was my first time too. To be fair, no screen is big enough to watch Space on. Except, perhaps, space.
It goes without saying that the screen isn’t half as large as you expect most IMAX screens to be. This is a pity, because if there was ever a film created to be projected onto the vast night sky (which is still not large enough), this is it.
Having said that, I also have no other reference points for a fair comparison other than…


I experienced ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ on this screen two years ago. It wasn’t even Nolan’s strongest film, but I remember being absolutely overwhelmed by what I saw. This is, in no small measure, because of the gigantic screen on which the digital (ouch) images are projected onto. It also helps that this theatre is designed to imbibe a frightening feeling of Vertigo into viewers, more like a vertically steep stadium seating system, which is layered upward and only adds to the overall experience. As a result, no annoying food-orders in front will ever distract you, unless it’s the same row. They’re either too high or too law to obstruct the view. There are times I literally bent forward and held onto the railing in front, afraid that I would drift off into a black hole. This is the nearest to adding another dimension to storytelling, and I would highly recommend this screen for Interstellar—even if the sound isn’t as vibrant as PVR.
If you’re someone who doesn’t prefer tilting your head to look at different parts of the screen (and this will happen, because of the prominent subtitles), this screen could be a tad problematic. Hence, getting a seat further behind makes sense, unlike me—who chose the third row from the screen before getting swallowed by the 5-storied screen. It added to my intoxication, definitely, but I also recommend holding onto somebody after the film is over. Injury, out of disoriented awesomeness, is a distinct possibility.


(*subject to genre. An animated 3D movie makes for better and more immersive viewing at PVR.)

However, both are digital IMAX projections, so we’re already on the second tier of viewing comparisons. I’m off to now wallow in the third-tier experience to get a more complete picture—that is watching Interstellar on a regular multiplex screen.
If any of you would like an all-out thorough comparison, please feel free to sponsor my ticket to Hyderabad so that I can have the ONLY genuine 15/70mm IMAX experience in the country. Or better still, add to this post.

– by Reel Reptile aka Rahul Desai

(For more posts by Rahul, you can visit his blog here)

  1. Watch it only in inorbit screen1 or wherever u get dolby atmos. Thats the only nearest experience to IMAX

    • kapil says:

      we have a dolby atmos here in delhi’s M-cinemas.. and let me tell you…either i may have a biased side to PVRs sound system..but dol-mos here in M-cinemas SUCKS BIG TIME.Actually the cinemas hall sucks big time.. they advertise that they have the biggest 3d screen in india but i dont think so…just go and watch a movie in PVR’s Audi 3 – 4 in PVR select city walk’s Premiere ..and tell me is the biggest screen that iv come across and sound system is amazing. and i mean it.

  2. Ravi E says:

    Thank you very much! I originally planned to watch it in IMAX first, but couldn’t resist and watched it at a multiplex. Was confused if I should give IMAX PVR a try but after reading your post I think I will stick to the Wadala IMAX. Thanks again!

  3. CrimZin DeSouza says:

    Hi Rahul, I’ve been patronizing IMAX Wadala (Screen 5) since they screened Harry Potter 7 (after the revamp post closure of the dome) and can without a doubt state that the feeling that engulfs you when you enter the auditorium itself is worth half the price of the ticket itself.

  4. Rahul Desai says:

    @CrimZin You’re right. That feeling is the closest we’ll have to entering a cinematic colosseum.

  5. arijit says:

    Hmmmm….watched it in IMAX hyderabad ! 😉

  6. Shalaka says:

    Does one see changing aspect ratios in the PVR IMAX screen like it does at IMAX Wadala during Interstellar?

    • Anonymous says:

      @shalaka yes, but you’re probably going to the slight shift on every screen because of different shooting formats used within the same film.

    • Rahul Desai says:

      @Shalaka Yes, but unlike GOTG (where the director chose where to shift the ratios on IMAX 3D screens), you’re going to notice this shift of aspect ratios on every IMAX screen in Nolan films– where different shooting formats are used within the same movie.

  7. Nick says:

    Having been to both theatres, I rate IMAX Wadala much better than IMAX Hyderabad.

    Sadly, the Prasads group hasn’t maintained IMAX Hyderabad well, and it feels like just any other large screen, nothing special.

    • reva says:

      Are you kidding me? Hyderabad’s IMAX is super awesome.. It is the only screen in India that can play 12000 watts uncompressed audio and also the true IMAX giant format..

  8. mithundsouza says:

    Having watched it just a couple of days ago at IMAX wadala myself, I’d like to chime in for the people caring to read this low.

    The sound experience at Wadala is in shambles. Its an utter disgrace to even be considering that theater to be in the IMAX standards of things. Unfortunately from what I know, their quality isn’t as stringent as it used to be in the days of 70mm projection + sound.

    PVR isn’t great either. The monkeys that designed it have blue LED’S at the forward four rows of seating that throw a blue cast on the screen. This was the case the last time I visited that place and offered up free consultancy to people that are in the management of PVR to recitify based on how badly it affects 3D screenings. No idea if that’s still the case and if it is, they’ve got to fix that if they even care two hoots abt standards and specs.

    Nolan intended for people to watch this on 70mm. At above 14+ footlamberts of measured light. At least. Not a DRM release on two cobranded 2k projectors running simultaneously to compensate for brightness loss across a 50 foot wide screen. Let’s not even begin to analyze their hot spots or clear glass (haha)

    Until such time, I guess we will have to make do. Like we always have.

  9. Sumit says:

    Big Cinemas,Wadala is a much better IMAX experience than PVR, Pheonix Mall. One, the screen in Wadala is huge, and two,the seating is more vertical and closer to the screen (which is also great for 3D). Neither of them are true IMAX (hence also called LieMAX) as they use digital projection. Also waiting for the day, when IMAX incorporates Dolby ATMOS like sound reproduction.

    • reva says:

      IMAX does not need dolby atoms. They have a their own sound design which is very much like/better than atoms. IMAX plays RAW 12000 watt uncompressed sound (Not all) and it is much better than atoms.

      • Sumit says:

        IMAX sound quality is good, but if you have been to a good Dolby ATMOS theatre, you will realize that the way sound can be made to come from a certain direction and position is much more realistic. Of course, it also depends on the sound-engineering of the movie.

        • Vimal Patel says:

          Dolby ATMOS is the sound track of future,i think reva donsent know how dolby atmos works,its object based sound,i heard once and form then, never like normal sound

  10. Akshat says:

    Hi,Can you tell me whether imax wadala is better than the cinepolis imax in thane?

  11. +1 on the review, watched Avengers: Age of Ultron today at Wadala and I booked the G row. Was massively underwhelmed by the screen size as I expected much, much more out of an Imax movie compared to a normal theater. My experience is that you should buy the tickets bang in the center of K or I (3rd row) from below for the ultimate experience. Watched the credits from directly below and I felt dizzy within a minute. They’re not using the pre-existing dome which is a shame. We need to sign petitions to get it back.

  12. Dyna Jones says:

    I saw many movies at PVR Mumbai and I simply cannot compare it to any other theaters in the town. It has awesome sound and picture quality. The 3D movies are awesome too.!

  13. raj pradeep mahadik says:

    I want to tell all of you people who want to know about imax, in India there was first imax build by adlabs in 2000 and it is still the biggest dome in the world and it is big screen behind Prasad imax in India and before it is was handover to big cinema it was 15/70mm imax, after they switch to new and low cost 2k imax projector system and it is also nice but 15/70 mm is the best, but that format is so costly.

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