It will raise coin to spend on local-language pics
South India’s Photon Kathaas Prods. is planning to list on London’s Alternate Investment Market to raise £6 million ($9.3 million) to produce films in regional languages at a new film studio.Chairing the venture will be Michael Rosenberg, one of the founders of TVAM, the U.K.’s first commercial breakfast station. Chief creative officer will be filmmaker Gautham Vasudev Menon and former Channel 4 exec Nathalie Schwarz will also be on the board. Composer A.R. Rahman will serve as creative adviser. Menon’s Tamil/Telugu bilingual “Vinnaithaandi varuvaaya”/”Ye maaya chesave,” featuring music by Rahman, grossed $8.8 million this year, according to Photon. Pics will be made in South Indian languages, which include Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. Films in the southern languages are either released in the original lingo across South India or are dubbed or remade. A 2009 Ernst & Young report valued the industry at $374 million a year and said that it accounted for 60% of all Indian film production and 75% of all revenues. However, according to Photon, the industry is fragmented and IP rights are underexploited — unlike its Hindi counterpart, Bollywood. Photon hopes to rectify this through an improved business model and tap into a market that comprises some 240 million people within India and 12 million around the world. Photon chief exec Venkat Somasundaram said, “Our listing, strong financial position and studio-led corporate model will enable us to attract talent, both creative and operational, while substantially reducing our product financing costs.” Other Indian film companies listed on AIM include Bollywood giant Eros and animation house DQ Entertainment.