Mango ripe for biz

Menon, Keenan launch Nuclear

HOLLYWOOD — Indian producer Govind Menon and American indie vet William Keenan have launched Bollywood/Hollywood production consultancy Nuclear Mango, aiming to take advantage of the buzz from “Slumdog Millionaire.”

“Nuclear Mango is at the forefront of a new wave of east-west production deals and can offer a wide range of access to talent, financing, production and distribution resources that can benefit the global film market,” Menon said.

The company’s first project will be a romantic comedy directed by Randal Kleiser (“Grease”) and toplined by Bollywood star Mallika Sherawat.

The duo took the sobriquet Nuclear Mango in homage to President Bush’s 2006 comment after the U.S. and India signed a nuclear accord and a trade deal — “The U.S. is looking forward to eating Indian mangoes.”

Menon’s Split Image Pictures and Keenan teamed on horror project “Hisss,” starring Sherawat and Irrfan Khan (“Slumdog Millionaire”) and directed by Jennifer Lynch in what’s billed as both the first Bollywood movie to be directed by an American and the first Bollywood creature feature. Two dozen Americans worked on the 60-day shoot, including special f/x veteran Robert Kurtzman.

Menon and Keenan are in post-production in Los Angeles on “Hisss” and are seeking a distribution deal, with the aim of showing “Hisss” at the Toronto Film Festival. They’re launching a physical production arm in Mumbai, India, to produce and finance projects in the $1 million to $10 million range.

Nuclear Mango’s also consulting for Red Chillies Entertainment’s Shah Rukh Khan and director-producer Anubhav Sinha, who’s producing Paul Schrader’s first Bollywood project “Extreme City,” due to be shot later this year in Mumbai. Clients also include production companies Eros Intl., based in London, and Mumbai-based Dharma Prods.

Menon, born in India and educated in the United States, has directed four films, including “Khwahish (Desire)” and “Bachke rehna re baba.”

Keenan’s producing credits include “Waiting” and “O.M.C.” He also acted in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Friends With Money.”

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