Akshay Kumar-starring period drama, “Rustom,” directed by Tinu Suresh Desai is set to be the first movie produced by Plan C Studios, a joint venture between Reliance Entertainment and Shital Bhatia’s Friday Filmworks.

The 50:50 joint venture marks the further return of Reliance, the Indian conglomerate that has backed Steven Spielberg, into Indian film-making. The company, once poised to be India’s largest movie enterprise, sold off its cinemas, post-production businesses and its TV joint ventures.

It also scaled back its Indian movie activities, only to plunge back in again in a manner designed to better share risk. In March, last year it joined as a partner in Phantom Films, a production house backed by filmmakers Anurag Kashyap, Vikas Bahl, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena. That venture is managed by Phantom.

In recent months Reliance has been attached to international projects. In September production got under way on the Gurinder Chadha-directed co-production “Viceroy’s House,” with BBC Films, Ingenious and Deepak Nayar. Hugh Bonneville Gillian Anderson and Om Puri star. In January Reliance unveiled its role in French-Indian climbing drama “nOmber One,” to be directed by France’s Serge Hazanavicius.

In December, Reliance rolled its stake in Spielberg’s Dreamworks Entertainment into the new-look Amblin Partners, which also benefits from finance from Entertainment One and Participant Media. Reliance Entertainment is also the majority owner of Los Angeles-based sales agency IM Global.

After “Rustom,” other projects on the Plan C slate include: Pandey’s cinematic version of his novel, “Ghalib Danger” and unidentified films to be directed by Shivam Nair, Chandra Prakash Dwivedi, Anurag Singh, Anvita Dutt and Shree Narayan Singh.

Pandey scored a notable directing debut with 2008 film “A Wednesday,” and directed “Special 26” in 2013, and “Baby” in 2015. He is currently shooting “M S Dhoni – The Untold Story,” a biopic of the recently retired cricket superstar.

We are delighted to partner with creative minds like Neeraj and Shital. This relationship is in line with our continuing strategy in the media and entertainment business, of partnering with like minded and successful individuals, while playing the role of supportive investors on our part,” said Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, group MD of the Reliance ADA Group, in a statement.

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