Eros strikes deal with Mukta

Company to co-produce with Red Carpet

HONG KONG — Indian major Eros Intl., enjoying record breaking success with “Om Shanti Om,” has struck a three-picture deal with Mukta Arts, including two by self-styled Bollywood “showman” Subhash Ghai.

In a related move, Eros confirmed a co-production venture with Red Carpet Films, a Mukta subsidiary headed by Manish Goswami.

Eros acquired global distribution rights to “Bombay 2 Bangkok,” a cross-cultural story helmed by Nagesh Kukunoor and starring Shreyas Talpade, Thai actress Lena Christensen and Naseeruddin Shah in a cameo. Ghai helmed “Yuvraaj” is a musical extravaganza with Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif in the leads. His upcoming “Black and White” is pitched as a social thriller introducing newcomers Anurag Sinha and Aditi Sharma.

Red Carpet is expected to produce four medium-budget films for Eros with total production investment of some R400 million ($10.2 million). First is skedded to lense in mid 2008 with one film delivered each quarter. Coin will come from Eros with Red Carpet and Mukta taking a profit share. Recently formed company is 50.1% owned by Mukta.

“We are looking forward to leveraging Eros’ global distribution in releasing this bouquet of prestigious releases by Mukta Arts,” Sunil Lulla, Eros’ Indian CEO, said.

Advanced word of the deals leaked out on Monday and the Bombay-listed shares of Mukta have climbed more than 26% on the week to Rup152. Eros, listed on London’s second tier Alternative Investment Market, was up 8p to 410p in early trade on Wednesday.

Eros confirmed claims of a $19 million total that makes “Om Shanti Om” the biggest opening picture in Indian film history. The Bollywood-themed ensemble piece, starring and produced by Shah Rukh Khan, opened on more than 1,400 screens worldwide on Nov. 9. It took $13.5 million in India and earned a further $2.16 million in the U.S. from 114 venues and $1.51 million from 54 sites in the U.K.

Some Indian cinemas played at more than 90% capacity and have booked it for 14-16 shows per day in the second week.

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