Liz Shackleton profiles some of the leading Indian film companies and what they are selling at Cannes.
UTV MOTION PICTURES
Initially a broadcaster, UTV has evolved into an integrated studio that also encompasses film and TV production and distribution, post-production, animation, new media and games.
The company is co-producing with US studios Fox and Sony, has a strategic tie-up with Disney and plans to transfer all its worldwide film production activities into an overseas subsidiary to be listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in London.
'It is our intent to position UTV Motion Pictures as a global Indian movie major and so our overseas listing will facilitate mergers and acquisitions, alliances and joint ventures in the main international markets with global film companies,' says Ronnie Screwvala, chairman and CEO of the UTV group, who expects more than 50% of film revenue to come from international markets by 2009.
At Cannes, the company will be focusing its sales efforts on upcoming releases Jodhaa Akbar, a historical epic from Lagaan director Ashutosh Gowariker, and Goal, starring John Abraham (Water) and Bipasha Basu (Dhoom 2) about an Asian football league, which was filmed entirely in the UK.
Starting life as a film processing lab in 1978, Adlabs has grown into an integrated entertainment conglomerate involved in film production, distribution and exhibition. In 2005, Reliance ADA Group acquired a majority stake in the company, which then started to acquire Hindi films for international distribution and signed a co-financing pact with Ashok Amritraj's Hyde Park Entertainment (which has created an Asian division and already has an office in India).
The company's Cannes slate includes action thriller Cash; costume drama Umrao Jaan; Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday, and superhero flick Krrish. Adlabs is also backing a remake of 1974 Bollywood western Sholay, now in post-production.
The recently launched movie arm of Indian media giant Network 18, which has a market cap of $1bn and joint ventures with CNN and Time Warner, Studio 18 is involved in film production and distribution in India and overseas, and also plans to enter international co-production.
The company was also behind the recent launch of investment vehicle, the Indian Film Company, which aims to raise $110m to invest in Hindi movies via a flotation on London's AIM. Studio 18 will unveil its debut slate at Cannes including the Mira Nair presentation Little Zizou, Rajkumar Santoshi's drama Halla Bol, and Reema Kagti's romantic comedy Honeymoon Travels, which has grossed close to $600,000 at the international box office, excluding India.
iDREAM INDEPENDENT PICTURES
The international sales arm of India's iDream Production, London and Mumbai-based iDream Independent Pictures (IIP) handles Hindi films with international appeal for non-Indian markets along with 'India-centric' English-language films.
Its Cannes slate includes four English-language market premieres: romantic comedy Americanizing Shelley; romantic drama Bombil And Beatrice; drama Karma, Confessions And Holi; and thriller Telling Lies. The company also co-produced UK horror The Sick House which is being sold by Arclight Films worldwide.