A subsidiary of Bollywood filmmaker Subhash Ghai’s production company Mukta Arts has plans to manage cinemas across Saudi Arabia, following a partnership with the kingdom’s Al-Othaim Investment Company, which operates multiple commercial complexes and entertainment centres in the country.

Mukta A2 Multiplex WLL, the Bahrain-based subsidiary of the Indian parent company, is looking to expand its business into Saudi Arabia following the country’s push to develop its entertainment landscape after the 35-year ban on theatres was lifted in the kingdom in 2017.

It is unclear at this time how many screens Mukta A2 Cinemas would manage at launch.

“Strategically positioned within Saudi Arabia, the key focal points for expansion lie in the burgeoning Tier-2 and 3 cities, which are experiencing dynamic growth as part of the Vision 2030 initiative. Mukta, while not currently engaged in direct investment, has strategically positioned itself through contractual agreements solely focused on providing management and operations services,” Rahul Puri, Managing Director, Mukta Arts Ltd said, in a media statement.

Ghai is an Indian film director, producer, and screenwriter who spearheaded several commercially hit film projects during the ‘80s and ‘90s in Bollywood, including Hero, Ram Lakhan, Khal Nayak, and Taal. Aside from operating the production company Mukta Arts, he also runs a talent school for budding artistes called Whistling Woods.

Mukta A2 Cinemas isn’t the first Indian company to expand into Saudi Arabia in recent years. India-headquartered Carnival Cinemas announced in 2018 it was planning to operate 500 screens in the kingdom over the next five years.

(Writing by Bindu Rai, editing by Brinda Darasha)