Ajit Andhare has been appointed as chief operating officer of India’s Viacom18 Motion Pictures.

He replaces Vikram Malhotra who is leaving the US-Indian joint venture to pursue his entrepreneurial interests.

Reporting to Sudhanshu Vats, group CEO of Viacom18 Media, Andhare will also be responsible for the distribution alliance between Viacom18 and Paramount Pictures.

Andhare was most recently CEO of development and production outfit Colosceum Media, which he founded in 2007 with Capital18. Colosceum produces shows such as MTV Roadies and MTV Splitsvilla for Viacom18 and Master Chef India for Star India.

Prior to setting up Colosceum, Andhare worked with Unilever in India and the Asia Pacific region for more than 12 years.

“The fundamentals of the motion pictures business in India are improving with growth in digital distribution, multiplex screens, emerging digital platforms and above all success of high content cinema,” said Andhare. “It’s a great opportunity to lead one of country’s premier studios recognised for its distinguished work in this exciting context.”

Over the past few years, Viacom18 Motion Pictures has produced hits such as Tanu Weds Manu, Kahaani and Gangs Of Wasseypur (pictured). Through its alliance with Paramount, the company has released films such as Transformers: Dark Of The Moon and Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol in India.