'Shine' purchase illuminates country's presence

India is beginning to make its weight felt at international film markets, and is likely to become a more significant buying force as specialty TV channels are launched.

This week’s Berlin market saw Palador Pictures acquire Martin Scorsese’s “Shine a Light” from Fortissimo.

“Musical documentary has not garnered mass appeal or the detailed attention of the entertainment industry (in India),” Palador co-founder and joint managing director Mohan Polamar said. “However, there is a huge audience for this. We are sure music lovers will lap it up.”

Indian movie and TV sectors have traditionally been dominated by local content, while the music industry is dominated by songs from Indian film soundtracks. Growing cosmopolitan population and introduction of multiplexes is changing tastes and availability.

This month, however, sees the launch of two rival “world film” cable nets. Diversified film and TV conglom UTV Software Communications last week bowed World Movies on DTH satellite and on cable networks in five major cities.

“World Movies is a channel for an upmarket audience, keeping in mind the needs of the increasingly global Indian audience. The channel offers contemporary, glamorous international movies from around the globe in varied genres,” UTV Entertainment Television CEO Shantonu Aditya, said. 

UTV and Palador were previously partners in the Olive world movies video collection, but acrimoniously broke apart with arguments focused on ownership of a catalog of several hundred international titles. Palador subsequently launched a video-on-demand service housed on the Tata Sky DTH platform and releases titles on DVD.

UTV World Movies now boasts a roster including Spanish titles “Machuca” and “Swindled,” Romanian film “Reach for the Sky” and Polish film “Your Name Is Justin.”

Those nets will next be joined by Firangi (meaning “foreign”) from the Sahara One broadcast and movies group, which launches on Feb. 25.

“We will air dubbed shows in genres like daily comedy, action, drama, horror during weekdays and movies on weekends,” Firangi business head Rajeev Chakrabarti said. Company has also bought telenovelas from Mexico and Brazil.

“We have signed on content providers in English as well as French and German languages from America, Latin America, Germany, Argentina and Israel to name a few,” he said.

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