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Indian fund Cause aims to raise $45 for socially conscious films

Mumbai-based financial services company DM Capital Advisors is launching a venture capital fund, Cause Entertainment (CE), to invest in socially conscious movies.

According to founders Vicky Dhir and Aditya Mehta, the fund is targeting films that are commercially viable and entertaining and as well as socially aware. They are hoping to raise around $45m for a slate of 10-15 projects through CE, which has been structured as a closed-end five-year fund, with two one-year extensions.

“So long as they fulfill their mandate as a commercial tool and recoup their costs, films are a great tool to bring about awareness and social change,” said Dhir, who says he was inspired by socially conscious US production company Participant Media.  

The fund is establishing a social action team and with each film will launch an initiative that addresses the cause highlighted in the story. Some of the profits from the fund will also be ploughed into social action projects.

Although the fund will focus on films that are “Indian in construct” it is open to international projects, as many social issues are global in nature, and is not restricted to Indian languages. One of it first projects is a yet-to-be-announced bilingual co-production with a UK company.

“When I say Indian in construct, a great example is Slumdog (pictured) or Gandhi, wherein it’s an Indian story communicated by an international team,” said Dhir. “At this point we have selected one such project and are reviewing another one in addition to two mainstream Bollywood projects.”

Two boards comprising industry veterans have been assembled to advise the fund. The creative board includes actress Shabana Azmi, filmmakers Anurag Kashyap and Aparna Sen, commercials director Prahlad Kakar and screenwriter Kunal Basu (The Japanese Wife).

The eight-strong corporate board includes Sony Entertainment CEO ManJit Singh, producer Bobby Bedi and Conde Nast India CEO Alex Kuruvilla. Former Sony and PVR Pictures executive Uday Singh is on the board of directors and part of the management team.

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