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Viacom18 unveils regional slate

India’s Viacom18 Motion Pictures is entering regional film production with a slate of movies in five Indian languages.

The studio has also appointed Jayesh Muzumdar, who is currently director of commercial affairs, Viacom18 Motion Pictures, to head its regional film business.

The initial slate includes films in Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Punjabi and Bengali. These include Tamil and Telugu remakes of Viacom18’s 2012 Hindi-language hit Kahaani. The remakes will be directed by Shekhar Kammula and star Nayanthara.

Marathi titles include a 3D sequel to popular hit Zapatlela, marking Marathi cinema’s first sequel and 3D film; 72 Miles, based on the commercially successful novel of the same name and directed by award-winning filmmaker Rajiv Patil; and Kumari Gangubai Non-Matric, based on a TV character.

Bengali titles include Bhitu, produced by Neeraj Pandey and starring Jeet, and Reunion (working title), produced by Sujoy Ghosh.

The slate also include Punjabi-language Bhajji In Problem, featuring Punjabi star Gippy Grewal and directed by Smeet Kang (Carry On Jatta). The film will also feature cricketer Harbhajan Singh, Honey Singh and Akshay Kumar in cameo roles.

“Foraying into regional cinema is in line with our vision for Viacom18 to have a strong presence in the regional entertainment space - both television as well as films,” said Viacom18 group CEO Sudhanshu Vats.

Vikram Malhotra, COO of Viacom18 Motion Pictures, said: “We are now firmly on the path of our ambition to be a pan-India movie studio. With incremental growth coming from regional markets, Viacom18 Motion Pictures will now extend its understanding of path-breaking content and innovative marketing skills to connect with regional audiences.”

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