Car company shows drive in India

Mahindra & Mahindra enters Bollywood scene

Indian car maker Mahindra & Mahindra has become the latest corporate giant to drive onto the Bollywood movie scene. Group has created a $50 million media fund and has begun financing a slate of movies.

In its first deal, Mahindra Media has secured worldwide theatrical, satellite, music and digital rights to Popkorn Entertainment’s “Mumbai chakachak.” The Hindi-language pic stars Rahul Bose, Ayesha Dharker, Mandira Bedi, Suresh Menon, Cyrus Broacha and Vinay Pathak, and is slated for release soon.

MM has also agreed to co-finance Pan Nalin-helmed “Buddha,” one of many Buddha-themed pics in different states of readiness. Scripted by Tinker Lindsay and Nalin, with production by Barnet Bain, pic is expected to lense in India and Nepal and be a big-budget affair targeted at a global market.

It is in advanced discussions to board “Shukno lanka” (Red Chillies), helmer Gaurav Pandey’s Bengali-language pic that will lense in Venice and Kolkata. Pic stars Mithun Chakraborty.

“We plan to invest in film production, movie distribution and movie marketing,” said Mahindra Media chief operating officer Indranil Chakraborty. It is also eyeing TV, Internet and mobile sectors plus investment in regional language movies.

The film unit, headed by Andrey Purushottam, plans to produce two to four films in the first year and increase that to 10 or more a year later. “The Indian filmed entertainment business is seeing fast growth. We want to aggressively participate in that,” a company statement said.

Mahindra & Mahindra is not the only car company making movies these days, nor even the only one from India.

Indian conglom Tata, whose car brands are soon to include Jaguar and Land Rover, is a partner with News Corp. in satcaster Tata-Sky and is one of India’s leading animation and special effects houses.

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