Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan is to relaunch the operations of his film production company Amitabh Bachchan Corp Ltd. on Oct 11 in Mumbai.
The company, which was declared bankrupt in 1999, will now be known as AB Corp and will launch a new Hindi film, directed by Indian filmmaker Raj Kumar Santoshi starring Amitabh Bachchan himself, alongside his son Abhishekh Bachchan and Indian film actor Sunjay Dutt.
Full details about the film are officially to be announced on Oct 11. However, it is known that this project is quite separate from the $22m five-hour version of the epic Mahabharat that Santoshi had been working on, also with Bachchan and Dutt in the cast and supported by a dream cast of top stars such as Aishwarya Rai.
Amitabh Bachchan, in an exclusive interview with ScreenDaily.com from the Marrakech film festival in Morocco where he is being honoured said, "We are now making a fresh start with a new feature film".
Bachchan is chairman of AB Corp. Other directors on the board include his wife Jaya Bachchan, industrialist Vinay Maloo and Indian politician Amar Singh.
According to Bachchan, "we want to take one step at a time - unlike last time when we entered many areas at the same time".
The company intends to produce two to three feature films a year and then move into the business of content creation for music and television. Over a period of time the company will also expand into event management and endorsements. The company is also gearing up to launch an IPO on the Mumbai stock exchange.
Bachchan commented, "We have faith in the vision with which ABCL was set up - we are now going to adopt a new attitude towards management of our company with greater accountability and control over choice of management personnel".
AB Corp plans to enter into a number of strategic alliances with Indian companies working in distribution and production, and has already signed an alliance with Mumbai based DMS Films for production related activities.
Bachchan's previous outfit, Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited (ABCL), was formally launched in January 1995.
ABCL's activities included acquiring rights for film and television programmes for various media including DVD/video and TV, the production of software, and artist management.
The company was seen as a pioneer in its attempts to bring modern management and international funding to the Hindi film production sector. ABCL produced and distributed a number of Hindi films including Bandit Queen.
ABCL key financial troubles stemmed from its organisation of Miss Universe in Bangalore.
In March 1999, hounded by creditors led by India's public broadcaster Doordarshan and Canara Bank, ABCL approached the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction to seek protection under the bankruptcy laws.
The Bombay high court restrained Bachchan from selling off his Mumbai bungalow 'Prateeksha' and two flats till the pending loan recovery cases of Canara Bank were dealt with.
Bachchan, however, pleaded that he had mortgaged his bungalow to Sahara India Finance for raising funds for his company. The Indian Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction declared Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited a 'sick' company with a debt of US$14m.
Bachchan explained: "Our friends advised us to close this losing venture and move on but we decided to clear all our debts despite huge losses and re-start the production of films".
Bachchan has raised funds from being a presenter on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire on Rupert Murdoch's Star TV, and from endorsing products ranging from cars, banks and fashion labels to soft drinks.
One of India's finest and most successful actors, Amitabh Bachchan was judged by a recent BBC Online poll as the most popular star in the world.
Commenting on the success of Indian cinema overseas in recent years, Bachchan added, "the world is now becoming aware of our special content, our quality and we are now better in marketing, distribution and public relations".
Bachchan, who turns 61 on Oct 11, has appeared in over 70 Hindi films and his latest film Baghban was released all over India on Oct 3 to critical acclaim.