When Manmohan Shetty, Chairman of Adlabs Entertainment, launched his dream project, Adlabs Imagica, an 'Indianised' theme park just off the Expressway that connects Mumbai and Pune, based on the lines of Universal Studio, in 2013, he was clear that he wouldn't enter into a franchise deal with a large global theme park brand and duplicate what they have across the globe, and in the bargain pay a fat franchise fee.
"India is giving just 9 per cent of the box office to Bollywood, which means we have our own emotions and our own subjects. So, a copy paste of those theme parks is unlikely to work here," says Shetty.The entertainment company has also preferred to create its own characters at the theme park. It has created characters such as Tuby, the elephant, Tuta-Futa, a popular character in the Mr India ride, among others. Imagica, says Shetty, is all set to monetise these characters.
Mickey Mouse, the popular Walt Disney character is worth $5 billion, and Shetty's ambition is to create big enough franchises out of his Imagica characters. "We plan to take these characters out of the park. We are looking at digital, TV shows and even full length films," says Pooja Shetty, Joint Managing Director, Adlabs Entertainment.The entertainment park, which is in the third year of operations, opened a water park last year and will soon, be launching its hotel property. "We are now looking at marketing Adlabs Imagica as a national holiday destination and not just a getaway for people living in Mumbai or Pune," says Shetty.
Also on the cards is the opening up of two more Imagicas, one on the outskirts of Hyderabad and the second one near Delhi. The total size of the first Imagica project is Rs 1,650 crore, out of which the theme park is a Rs 1,350-crore project, while the water park and hotel are worth Rs 150 crore and Rs 200 crore respectively.