Hollywood’s Bollywood saviour

The Indian billionaire Anil Ambani‘s big-bucks deal with Tinseltown’s big players is an almost romantic tale of rescue, albeit a corporate one.

It’s a plot device that stretches from Dickens to Romy & Michelle: the wealthy benefactor swooping in at just the right moment. But as the credit crunch makes Hollywood financing more and more unstable, the Indian industrialist’s agreement with production companies headed by celebrities such as Jim Carrey, George Clooney and Tom Hanks is worth even more to all concerned than its billion-dollar price tag.

While Disney, Sony and Warners have all put their money behind their interest in the expanding Indian media market, this mammoth transaction marks a significant Indian stake in the world of Western film. Inevitably, speculation has already begun as to whether this means that Bollywood’s masala will start to make an appearance in the movies of Hollywood. But amusing as it would be to see Brangelina bhangra, or to watch Clooney croon in the rain, this represents corporate rather than creative control.

If we are to believe Ambani’s media company, Reliance Big Entertainment, which stresses that the films developed for these A-listers will be free from editorial interference, then this is something of a breakthrough for the image of Bollywood abroad. Its backing of American cinema swiftly takes it out of the all-singing, all-dancing ghetto at the margins of mainstream entertainment in the West. Bollywood now means money, and money is something everybody respects.

So far so good for Hollywood – it gets the cash it needs. And also for Reliance Big – it gets the credibility afforded those who supply that cash. Context, however, is everything. Back in India, Ambani has also just announced a major media launch of 20 TV and radio channels.

Media is one of the subcontinent’s economic trailblazers. Along with shopping malls, highways and gated communities, it is consumed by a growing middle class in the nation’s race towards modernity. But it also underscores the country’s lopsided growth and the worsening of its deep social and economic divisions.

Read More: http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/film/2008/05/hollywoods_bollywood_saviour.html

India’s Reliance plans movies with Hollywood stars

MUMBAI, India – India’s Reliance Big Entertainment has signed deals with the production houses of top Hollywood stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Nicholas Cage to co-produce movies, the company said Monday.

The media group will provide about $1 billion to develop and co-produce films in Hollywood, company chairman Amit Khanna told The Associated Press.

The company has signed separate deals with George Clooney’s Smokehouse Productions, Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment, Nicolas Cage’s Saturn Productions, Tom Hanks’ Playtone Productions, Jim Carrey’s JC 23 Entertainment, as well as filmmakers Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures and Jay Roach’s Everyman Pictures, Khanna said.

“We hope to have 30 scripts from which we are looking at 10 films from this slate over the next couple of years,” Khanna said when reached by phone in Cannes where the company announced the deals.

There would be different genres of films with different financing structures, he said.

“The bigger stars have a first-look deal with Hollywood studios, so the deals could range from co-production to working with the studios,” he said.

Reliance Big Entertainment is the media arm of $100 billion conglomerate Reliance ADA Group, which also has interests in telecommunications and power.

It is owned by India’s leading industrialist Anil Ambani, who was listed as the world’s sixth richest person by Forbes this year.

Over the past two years, India’s movie houses have signed several co-production deals with foreign studios, such as Sony and Walt Disney.

Read More: http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/article/427399

Reliance ropes in Pitt, Clooney for Hollywood foray

Mumbai, May 20, Anil Ambani led Reliance has roped in leading Hollywood actors including Brad Pitt and Tom Hanks besides Clooney to begin its foray into the Los Angeles based Hollywood, the largest and most hallowed film industry in the world. And mind you reliance is ready to invest in a big way in its new venture.

The 100 billion dollar Indian conglomerate with interests in telecom, power, real state, finance and entertainment has big plans for the Hollywood. And it showed its financial muscles by roping in several big Hollywood names during the just concluded film festival at Cannes.

Anil Ambani, the sixth wealthiest person on the plant with his elder brother Mukesh Ambani make the wealthiest family on the earth with combined worth of the two brothers in the proximity of 80 billion dollars.

Anil Ambani’Reliance Big Entertainment is all set to invest US$ 1 billion in Hollywood and if reports are to be believed Anil Ambani has already signed several leading names of the Hollywood. The actors who are rumoured to have already signed big deals with Reliance Big Entertainment include Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks and George Clooney.

If the deal goes through then it is certain that Reliance is all set to be a significant player in the most hollowed film industry of the world. He has already good presence in India and his company runs more than a hundred theatres in India and will have more than 400 theaters within two years. It unveiled a plan to produce 69 films during the next 3 years in 9 prominent Indian languages.

Reliance is reportedly going to invest in development funds for eight production companies owned by Alist stars.

Some of the Hollywood production houses that are going to benefit from the deal include Nicolas Cage’s Saturn Productions, Jim Carrey’s JC 23 Entertainment, George Clooney’s Smokehouse Productions, Chris Columbus’s 1492 Pictures, Tom Hanks’s Playtone Productions, Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment and Jay Roach’s Everyman Pictures.

Read More: http://www.khabrein.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14406&Itemid=88

Reliance goes Big with billion-dollar unit

CANNES — The future of Indian movies will include sex and violence in addition to dancing and tea, according to India’s Reliance Big Entertainment, a new billion-dollar backed subsidiary of Reliance ADA Group, based in Mumbai. But “only if the stories told require it,” creative director Prasoon Joshi said at the launch of the entertainment and media arm of the $75 billion Reliance. “We’re not going to start making pornography,” he said.

Company chiefs also said Big has struck a brace of production deals including a three-year, first-look deal with filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Choprathat will kick off with his English-language gangster pic “Broken Horses.” Oscar-nominated Nick Pileggi is a script consultant on the project.

In addition, the Indian giant also has struck a six-picture, two-year deal with Excel Entertainment.

Reliance president Rajesh Sawhney, chairman Amit Khanna and Joshi unveiled the company’s initial production slate of 69 films, spanning nine languages with budgets ranging from $1million to $25 million.

The films are set for production and distribution over the next two years.

The Big trio wheeled out Chopra; his agent, ICM topper Jeff Berg; filmmaker Abhinay Deo; and Abhishek Kapoor at a news conference held Friday morning.

Big already has corralled a stable of noted Bollywood and regional Indian directors including Farhan Akhtar, Ram Gopal Varma, Shyam Benegal, Buddhadeb Das Gupta and Rituparno Gosh to make movies for them.

Reliance’s empire spans production, distribution, home entertainment and exhibition across the subcontinent and also has outposts in Sri Lanka and Mauritius among others. Khanna said the company plans to open offices in New York and Los Angeles.

The company also is the exclusive licensee for Universal in India, Sri Lanka and Mauritius, with access to more than 8,000 Universal titles.

Read More: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3ia6bfab03d267bc8a26242f428355e76e

Reliance finalises 69 films for production in next two years

Mumbai (PTI): Reliance BIG Entertainment, the media and entertainment arm of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani (ADA) group, has finalised a slate of 69 films in nine languages for production and distribution over the next two years.

The films include those in collaboration with India’s leading production houses and Reliance’s own in-house films. Amongst the prominent deals include -two film deal with Vidhu Vinod Chopra including a mainstream English language film “Broken Horses”, a six-film deal with Excel Entertainment promoted by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani including Shah Rukh Khan starrer “Don II”.

There is also a two-film deal with director Shyam Benegal, four film deal with Madhur Bhandarkar, three film deal with Vivek Agnihotri and two film deal with Sudhir Mishra, Amit Khanna, chairman of Reliance BIG Entertainment, said in a statement issued here today.

Khanna said Reliance ADA group has 106 operating cinema screens at present and it is expected to go up to 400 by the end of the calender year 2009.

Earlier this year, the group made its foray into the US exhibition market and has expanded its film exhibition presence across India, Malaysia and Mauritius.

Out of the total films, those in post production stage are “Rock On”, “Sarkar Raj”, “Love Story 2050″, “Pathshala”, Tamil film “Yaavaram Nallam”, “Hulla”, “Summer 2007″, Punjabi film “Mera Pind”, “Shabri”.

Films in production stage are “Luck By Chance”,”Daddy Cool”, “Singh is King”, “Sultan-the Warrior”, “Dulha Mil Gaya”, “Sikander” and animation film “Hey Krishna”.

Read more: http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/009200805162221.htm