Fox Star Studios inks Tamil deal

Co-production deal signed with Murugadoss

LONDON — After establishing a Bollywood beachhead with “My Name Is Khan” and “Quick Gun Murugan,” Fox Star Studios is entering the Tamil-language market via a co-production with A.R. Murugadoss Prods.

The as yet untitled film will be a youthful love story directed by Saravanan with actors Jai and Vimal playing the male leads. A female lead is yet to be finalized. The budget wasn’t disclosed.

Murugadoss, whose 2008 Bollywood debut “Ghajini” grossed more than $58 million worldwide, has an exclusive deal with Fox Star to produce Tamil pics.

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

Murugadoss said: “It gives me a chance to use my deep association with the Tamil film industry to tell exciting new stories with our established stars and also to promote new talent.”

Though the Hindi-language Bollywood remains India’s most visible export, the South Indian film industry, comprising the Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada-language cinemas, accounts for more than 75% of India’s film production and revenues, according to a 2009 Ernst & Young report.

Besides India and Sri Lanka, Tamil films have a strong overseas market in the U.S., U.K., France, Canada, Switzerland, Malaysia, Singapore, the Middle East, South Africa and Australia, thanks to the ethnic Tamil population present there and also those from the other South Indian states who consume Tamil cinema.