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Cannes: Priyanka Chopra’s Purple Pebble Reveals Indian Regional Film Slate

Priyanka Chopra, Indian superstar and star of “Quantico,” has unveiled the debut Cannes slate of her Purple Pebble Pictures shingle.

The company, operated by Priyanka’s mother, Dr. Madhu Chopra, is pitching a trio of Indian regional films that could attract international finance, or eventually find their way to overseas festival berths.

The slate is headed by “Little Joe,” a dual language Hindi-Konkani film, about a kid who expresses himself through drawings and cartoons, and searches for a place where he is not treated like a freak. Also on the lineup is “Nalini,” a fact-based drama about the first romance of Rabindranath Tagore, musician, revolutionary, poet and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. The picture will be shot in Bengali, Marathi and English. Another title is “Little Visitors” (aka “Pahuna”,) to be shot in Sikkimese.

Priyanka Chopra has long been interested in film production and previously attended project markets including HAF in Hong Kong. She launched Purple Pebble 2½ years ago at a time when she was consciously switching her acting and singing careers toward the west.

The company name is a reference to both royalty and to Priyanka Chopra, as seen by her mother. “She’s my rolling stone,” Madhu Chopra told Variety.

“(Priyanka) didn’t just want to go and abandon things. She developed a production strategy about regional cinema, how to expose them, and how to use her brand value. “She is deeply interested in Indian regional cinema, films that will be made by cast and crew in the regions, and not exploited by the Hindi industry [often known as Bollywood]. What we are making is not art, but it is niche.

“[Priyanka] put up her own money for the first three films, which everybody told her not to. But after we picked up some awards and got validation, more co-financiers emerged. The second year has definitely been easier,” said Chopra. The company has made six films to date, including “Ventilator,” which won three National Awards.

Until now, international sales have been handled by the overseas arms of major Indian studios, including Zee and Sony. “As we move into international co-productions, we’ll be operating the same philosophy, just a different regional skew,” Chopra said.

Priyanka Chopra will next be seen in Paramount’s “Baywatch.”

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