Former Reliance Big Pictures and Yash Raj Films executive Jawahar Sharma has launched a sales outfit in partnership with Cinergy Productions to handle international distribution of Indian films.
The new company, Cinergy Independent Film Services (CIFS), will handle mainstream Bollywood fare along with some of the less conventional product that Indian filmmakers have recently been producing.
Its debut slate includes Walkwater Media’s comedy Tere Bin Laden, starring Pakistani singer Ali Zafar as a journalist who creates a fake Osama Bin Laden video to raise money to emigrate to America; Rahul Dholakia’s Lamhaa, about the on-going conflict in Kashmir, and PVR Pictures’ Aisha, starring Sonam Kapoor and Abhay Deol, which is currently on Indian release.
“We are service providers to independent films that are seeking international distribution,” says Sharma. “We will be looking at innovative ways to market and distribute these films. There are now lots of new platforms for distribution that we need to take advantage of, although the revenue models for some are not clear yet.”
CIFS may also sell some upcoming Cinergy productions such as Ram Gopal Varma’s Rakta Charitra, which is being filmed simultaneously in Hindi, Tamil and Telegu. It should also be able to take advantage of that fact that India’s big corporate film houses have recently been acquiring less product after a downturn in business over the last few years.
The company plans to attend markets including Cannes, AFM and Mipcom and will eventually establish US and UK distribution offices. However Sharma said he will continue to sell North American and UK rights, depending on what is the best route for each film.
Sharma was formerly COO of international film business at Reliance Big Pictures and prior to that headed distribution for Yash Raj Films in North America.
Cinergy Productions is the Mumbai-based production house founded by Ghajini producer Madhu Mantena. The company’s upcoming slate also includes 1-800-LOVE (working title) for Saregama India and Mausam, a co-production with Eros and Vistaar Religare which is currently shooting in Scotland.