NDTV Imagine, the entertainment channel recently launched by Indian broadcaster NDTV, has formed a joint venture with Adlabs founder Manmohan Shetty and Alliance Entertainment chief Sunil Doshi to release worldcinema titles in India.

The newlabel, NDTV Lumiere,aims to release the best of contemporary world cinema titles in Indian theatres immediately following their worldwide release. Meanwhile catalogue titles will be distributed across home video, a 24-hour TV channel, satellite pay-per-view platforms and the internet.

Doshi, who is overseeing acquisitions, hasso far bought310 titles, predominately from Europe, South-East Asia, China and Iran.

'We have interesting packages from Aki Kaurismaki, Jia Zhangke and Fatih Akin. Some other titles are The Orphanage, Persepolis, Goodbye Bafana and Caramel,' Doshi told Screendaily.

The roll-out plan is to release 60 films in the first year starting in March 2008. A budget of $8-9m has been allocated to NDTV Lumiere, according to Doshi, of which 80% is for acquisitions.

In order to promote world cinema in India, NDTV Lumiere plans to host events such as lectures and workshops for film students and opportunities for audiences to interact with the directors and cast of these films.

NBC Universal recently struck a long-term strategic partnership with NDTV under which it will take a 26% stake in the Indian network, with an option to increase that to 50% after two years.

Indian entertainment conglomerateUTV is also launching a 24-hour channel dedicated to international films called World Movies.

Meanwhile, Palador Pictures, which was initially partnered with UTV in its world cinema initiative but is now operating separately, is working with Tata Sky's pay-per-view Showcase channel to broadcast world cinema titles.