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India’s Cinestaan Invests in Film London’s Shakespeare Initiative

LONDON — India’s Cinestaan Film Company will invest up to £250,000 ($385,000) in a William Shakespeare-themed feature film being developed under Film London’s Microwave International micro-budget filmmaking program, the companies announced on Thursday.

Film London had announced its plans to celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary in November last year. Five filmmaking teams from the U.K. and India will be selected to participate in Film London’s Microschool program, where they will receive training and be mentored by Indian filmmakers Vishal Bhardwaj, who has three Shakespeare adaptations — “Maqbool” (Macbeth), “Omkara” (Othello) and “Haider” (Hamlet) — to his credit; Ritesh Batra (“The Lunchbox”); and Vikas Behl (“Queen”). The British Council will also contribute to the training program.

One feature drawing from the work of Shakespeare will be greenlit from this process and be released theatrically in 2016 as part of Shakespeare 400 — a yearlong cultural program marking 400 years since the writer’s death.

Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “Being able to partner with Cinestaan Film Company is a spectacular result for the project, particularly since they share our own aims when it comes to training and supporting homegrown filmmakers. Bringing our talent together for the exciting Microwave International production represents an opportunity to build bridges between our two industries, and create a unique production based on the works of the world’s most famous writer.”

Cinestaan Film Company is the film production subsidiary of Cinestaan Entertainment, founded by entrepreneur Rohit Khattar, with investment from prominent Indian businessman Anand Mahindra, who is the chairman of the $16.2 billion Mahindra and Mahindra conglomerate, and has a personal net worth of $790 million. The company has a three-picture deal with director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Romp Pictures, and upcoming titles include Mehra’s “Mirziya” and Nitin Kakkar’s “FanneyKhan.”

Microwave International is the global iteration of Film London’s Microwave program that has produced eight theatrical features, including the BAFTA-nominated “Lilting.” The company recently announced “20,000 Reasons,” a co-production with the Malta Film Commission.

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