SET India ends foray into pic prod'n biz

NEW DELHI — Sony Entertainment Television (SET India) is withdrawing from the Indian film production biz after its recent foray into moviemaking in India.

Company is also eliminating a $25 million fund set up for financing Hindi-language movie projects.

Decision was announced after a group of execs from Columbia TriStar Intl. TV, including exec VP and senior VP of international channels Jon Petrovich and Martha Eberts, respectively, met in Mumbai last week.

Company had been all set to roll several projects, and did in fact shoot “Pyar Kiya Nahi Jata,” a pic to be released this year.

The film fund was to be a joint effort with other investors, managed by SET India, to provide cash on easy terms for filmmakers for a fee.

But the recent push by other players — Zee Telefilms, Tatas, Reliance and Videocon — into film production and distribution has pepped up the Indian film industry and provided a legitimate financial alternative to an industry otherwise tainted with underworld money.

Distribution focus

Though SET will take on financing of a few small film projects, the company will concentrate on distribution.

SET entered the distrib market in India three years ago, when Sony Pictures Entertainment India acquired worldwide distribution rights to the Hindi-language movie “Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi.” That pic did not do well.

Nonetheless, Col TriStar Film Distributors Intl. prexy Duncan Clark continued with the initiative in order to promote new talent.

Among its recent ventures, Sony holds worldwide distrib rights to “Lagaan,” the Indian nominee in the foreign-language film category at the Oscars this year.

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