After Kaante became one of the big Bollywood success stories of 2002, the Indian film Industry is gearing up to launch more Hollywood co-productions this year.
Mumbai based film and TV production company UTV is launching four films in 2003. Among the films is a co-production with LA based Madira Films which stars Val Kilmer. The $10m feature is a period love story set in India. Also in the pipeline is a Shah Rukh Khan film being produced in association with SRK Films, expected to be completed within the next 15 months.
Gywneth Paltrow is being tipped to star with Hindi film star Salman Khan in Marigold, a musical romantic comedy written and to be directed by US filmmaker Willard Carroll. The $10m Bollywood/Hollywood project will be shot in both English and Hindi in Mumbai, Goa and Rajasthan.
Marigold, which is being touted as the first Hindi film made by a US director, is the story of a demanding B-movie actress stranded in India when her film is suddenly cancelled. Penniless and unable to return home, the desperate actress accepts a role in a gaudy Bollywood production even though she is a terrible dancer. Khan will play her dance instructor.
"The movie-within-a-movie format enables us to do the Bollywood sequences for real and at full strength while still preserving the narrative structure of a mainstream Hollywood entertainment," Carroll told screendaily. "In the past, US productions shooting in India have used the country as an exotic backdrop and a source of inexpensive manpower," said Sidharth Jain, VP of producer Hyperion Pictures India. "This project is different. It's a true co-production; Indians working side by side with Americans. It will be a seamless mixture of what each industry does best."
Ajey Jhankar of Neelmudra Entertainment, has already announced the project titled The Invaders. Ronald Joffe will direct the film, to be produced by Peter Rowley, formerly of 20th Century Fox. They plan to make the film in English and Hindi and dub it in Marathi.
Bandit Queen producer Bobby Bedi's company, Kaleidescope Productions, backed by venture capitalists Infinity Fund's Saurabh Srivastava and Cyber Media's Pradeep Gupta's, has raised $12m to produce between five and six features a year. Bedi recently announced the production of The Rising to be directed by veteran filmmaker Ketan Mehta and budgeted at $5m. The story of the Indian Mutiny will star Aamir Khan playing the lead role of Mangal Pandey. Bedi has also launched a joint venture: Crossover Films with filmmaker Mani Ratnam, which will produce films for the international market.
Hindi film Director Ram Gopal Verma has announced a $12m project with film stars Amitabh Bachchan and Ajay Devgan as well as Hollywood actors. The film about military intelligence will be targeted at an international audience; it will be shot in real time and will be bilingual - the Indian characters will speak in Hindi; the Western characters in English. The Hindi and English dialogues will have subtitles in reverse to ensure optimum reach. It will be shot in four countries, including the US, Egypt and Pakistan.
Kaante Producer Raju Patel has announced Hanuman which revolves around an Indian family in New Jersey. A young boy in the family who does not believe in the Hindu god Hanuman is nevertheless rescued by the monkey-god. The film will be bilingual in Hindi and English. No actor has yet been announced for the role of Hanuman. Kaante Director Sanjay Gupta has launched three new films to be produced by his company White Feather Films in the new year. Gupta's first film as a producer is titled Plan and is to be directed by first time director.
Ashutosh Gowariker the director of Oscar Nominated Lagaan has announced that his next film Swades is to shoot in Houston, USA with Shah Rukh Khan in the lead. Filmmaker Vinta Nanda has approached Indian Nobel Prize winner Dr. Amartya Sen and his actress daughter Nandana Sen, to star in her film titled Wild Noise.