Relativity founder Ryan Kavanaugh and Bollywood network B4U chief Ishan Saksena are exploring an unorthodox film production model through their freshly minted content and distribution alliance.
Under the terms of the partnership, announced in Cannes at the weekend, the parties have set up a $100m war chest to create content for the US and India and access each other’s distribution channels to exploit properties across both markets.
There are also plans to launch a pay-TV channel in India and then there is RelaTV, an over-the-top (OTT) platform targeted at the Indian market that will carry original material and existing Relativity titles that will not conflict with Kavanaugh’s non-exclusive supply deal with Netflix.
In one of the more intriguing planks of the US-Indian arrangement, the partners will collaborate on simultaneous US and Indian-language feature production.
Kavanaugh and Saksena said they were modelling a round-the-clock schedule that would involve a well-known franchise shot on the same Hollywood set.
The plan would result in a US feature with minor roles for Bollywood actors and an Indian-language version with American actors in minor roles.
The model is not unique but it is rare. During the 1930 shoot of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi on the Universal lot, a Mexican crew would arrive at night to shoot the Spanish-language version.
“We’re always looking for unique international growth opportunities and we see India as one of the key growth markets,” Kavanaugh told Screen.