Hollywoodstudios are actively seeking partnerships with Indian production houses asSony, Paramount and Disney announced their plans to make their first Hindifilms. With India's filmed entertainment business valued at $1.5billion in 2005 Hollywood studios see a huge opportunity to cash in on the Bollywood (Hindi Song & Dance film industry) marketthrough co-productions.
Disneyis to acquire or produce 20Hindifilms in the next ten years in India under the banner of Walt Disney Pictures with thedistribution and marketing to be handled by Buena Vista International. Mark Zoradi, president of Buena Vista International, told Screen
"We are restructuringthe Disney's philosophy to a global model. This will include an entry into Bollywood for co-production projects with Indianfilmmakers. We tend to make about 20 films in the next 10 years. We're lookingat co-producing films with Indian partners."
Walt Disney Company andBuena Vista International have recently appointed ShyamP. S. as Head of Film Production & Acquisitions, Buena Vista International(India). The announcement was made by RajatJain, Managing Director, TWDCI and Jeff Forman, Senior Vice President Asia forBVI. The company officials had meetings with Yashraj Films, Dharma Productions and Reliance Adlabs in Mumbai.
Paramount Studios willinitially work on English projects and then later on is going to venture intoIndian language films. Tom Freston, President & CEO, Viacom on a visit to India told Screen,"For us India is among the three most exciting markets in theworld, it would not be incorrect to say the top market in Asia. We are in a process to strengthen our presence in existing Indianbusinesses and to make new investments very soon."
Freston, accompanied by CFO Mike Dolan and seniorvice-president mergers and acquisitions, Wade Davis met Indian IndustrialistAnil Ambani and filmmaker YashChopra of Yash Raj Films.He added, "I have come to India to discuss with various stakeholders, and I thinkthe talks will be finished in a few days from now. Within a span of one year,we will start the production here. To begin with, Paramount was very keen on exploring production opportunitiesin India"
Sony Picturesisalreadyfunding Sawariyaa production by Indian director Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Devdas) after resting idle for years with an FIPBapproval for film production in India. Uday Singh, MD of Sony Pictures Releasing (SPRI) says: "Itmarks the dawn of a new and exciting chapter in the life of Sony Pictures in India."
MeanwhileS. K Arora, Secretary, Union Ministry of Information& Broadcasting has announced a flexible regime for international filmproduction companies to invest in India. "We need investmentfrom foreign players and leaders in this area. There are foreign firms cominginto India while Indian firms travelabroad. Foreign firms bring their brand in. However, Indian firms when they goabroad do so under an international brand," he said.