Sony Pictures International Productions is to expand into Indian regional cinema by backing a new film from Malayalam-language superstar Prithviraj Sukumaran, who is usually known simply as Prithviraj.

The studio last year began a local-language production strategy in India, starting with the high-profile Hindi or Bollywood segment. It recently released controversial feminine-hygiene drama “Pad Man,” starring Akshay Kumar, and in May will release “101 Not Out” with superstar Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor.

The deal with the newly established Prithviraj Productions is a further step by Sony, which has major broadcasting interests in India, into the country’s vast regional film industries. Prithviraj Productions is headed by Prithviraj and journalist-turned-producer Supriya Menon.

“This will be our first exciting step into the content-rich pool of regional cinema, and we are planning to expand the Sony footprint in other languages as well,” Vivek Krishnani, MD of Sony Pictures Entertainment, India, told Variety.

“Apart from Malayalam, the other [Indian-language] markets that we are looking at are Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and other markets that are still successfully bringing audiences to the theaters. The strategy is to push the envelope where content is concerned and deliver some of the best and most entertaining cinematic experiences to the audience.”

“We’ve been looking for the right opportunity to break into the fast-growing regional Indian markets,” said Laine Kline, head of Sony Pictures International Productions.

Few details of the new film have yet been disclosed, save for a mid-April start date and the fact that Prithviraj will star. His credits include “Ezra,” “Ennu Ninte Moideen,” “Amar Akbar Anthony,” “Anarkali,” and “Mumbai Police.”