Fox Star moves into Tamil market

Company pacts with filmmaker A.R. Murugadoss

Fox Star Studios, the pan-Asian joint venture inked last year between News Corp. divisions 20th Century Fox and its Asian satcaster Star, has inked an exclusive deal with Tamil filmmaker A.R. Murugadoss.

Pact will cover two features and marks Fox Star’s first venture into the rapidly expanding Tamil film industry.

Murugadoss is a rising star in the Indian film biz.

The helmer has enjoyed a string of five consecutive box office hits. His first Hindi pic, “Ghajini,” starring Aamir Khan , is one of the biggest box office earners in Indian cinema of all time with grosses of nearly $40 million since its bow last year.

“In India, Tamil films are second only to Bollywood in popularity,” said Vijay Singh, chief exec of Fox Star Studios. “We are committed to building relationships with the best in Indian cinema.”

Ever since it was launched in May 2008 under the stewardship of Sanford Panitch, a former executive VP of production at Fox and prexy of filmed entertainment at Fox partner New Regency, Fox Intl. Prods has been spreading its wings around the world.

“We’ve been looking at the Tamil market for quite some time and from the moment we met Murugadoss, we knew we had found a like-minded partner to lead us there,” said Panitch.

Last October Fox also inked a two-picture deal with Vipul Amrutlal Shah, who produced blockbuster “Singh Is Kinng.” Fox and Shah are prepping romantic laffer “Pyar ka U-turn.”

Away from India, Fox Intl. Prods. also has projects in states of active development or production in Russia, China, Japan, Brazil, Germany and the Middle East.