HONG KONG — The Indian Film Company, the movie production and finance outfit backed by India’s Studio 18 and Viacom, has committed to finance and produce six Bollywood movies.
Pics are the first greenlighted since IFC raised £55 million ($112 million) by floating on the Alternative Investment Market section of the London Stock Exchange and take its total slate to 20 films.
IFC will produce five of the six and co-produce one, “Loot,” with Sunil Shetty’s Popcorn Entertainment. It will fully finance all six with a total investment of $24.5 million, and retain all rights.
“Taken together with the 14 films transferred when the company was set up, we have a slate that covers almost every genre,” Sandeep Bhargava, CEO of IFC’s advisory company, said. “We have a range of films from small budget to really quite large, some very experienced directors and some newcomers and some that could crossover and appeal to a global audience as well.”
Bhargava said that Viacom had not yet had much influence on the choice of productions that IFC has committed to, but foresaw its role increase over time. “Production in Bollywood and Hollywood are completely different worlds, but the idea is very much to use the network of Viacom and Paramount to get into territories we don’t get into, to use their network of offices and exploit every available format. Pay TV and VOD are becoming the norm.”
“We committed to fully investing the proceeds of the flotation within 18 months. We are 60% there now, so the others will come soon,” Bhargava said.
The six films greenlighted are:
— Comedy “Loot,” helmed by Ranjneesh Thakur, will lense from August.
— Low budget pic “Masquerade,” with cast of new talents, to be helmed by Kundan Shah from November.
— “Fruit ‘n nut,” the helming debut of actor Kunal Vijayakar, also to shoot from November.
— Murder mystery “Bombay Velvet,” to be helmed by Anurag Kashyap on a $13 million-$15 million budget.
— A big budget remake of “Chashme Badoor” to be directed by upcoming helmer Onir.
— An untitled pic by popular helmer Priyadarashan.