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WB bolsters Indian film industry

Studio signs three-pic deal with People Tree

Warner Bros. Pictures has added to its network of relationships in India, signing a three-picture production and distribution deal with Mukesh Talreja and Nikhil Advani’s People Tree Films.

WB will release helmer Milap Milan Zaveri’s goofy space girl comedy “Jaane kahan se aayi hai,” starring Riteish Deshmukh, Jacqueline Fernandez and Ruslaan Mumtaz.

Warner’s also continuing its relationship with helmer Advani, whose recent “Chandni Chowk to China” was one of the studio’s first Indian pics. Advani will direct “Chandbhai,” a tough-love story set in a juvenile detention facility to star Akshay Khanna and Vidya Balan.

Third is Mumbai and Delhi-set political thriller “Basra,” starring Khanna and directed by Navdeep Singh.

“We are looking at releasing ‘Jaane kahan se aayi ha’ in the summer of 2009, ‘Chandbhai’ during Diwali (fall), and ‘Basra’ will hit the cinemas at the end of 2009,” said Talreja.

“Both Nikhil Advani and Mukesh Talreja are dynamic creative individuals whose vision we share. We hope to have a long and successful association with People Tree Films,” said Warner Bros. Intl. exec VP Richard Fox.

Studio has put down extensive roots in India. It previously pacted with Ramesh Sippy and Orion Pictures to make “Chandni Chowk,” and in April, it signed with Ocher Studios to produce pics in four regional languages.

In June Warner committed to its first animated movie in India through a deal with helmer Jyotin Goel and his Goel Screencraft shingle.

Separately, Time Warner stablemate Turner Intl., which has been in India for over a decade as broadcaster and TV producer, announced plans to begin producing animated theatrical movies in India and said that it would unite with Warner Bros. to launch a Hollywood TV channel.

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