Endemol India forays into Hindi film production; Aman Gill to head

MUMBAI: After Hollywood studios like Warner Bros, Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox made in-roads into the Indian film industry, a new international player is now set to step foot in the space.

Endemol, which is an international entertainment production company that specializes in television format shows, is now looking at Hindi film production. The company has appointed ex-Studio 18 director – domestic distribution Aman Gill to lead its foray into feature films in India.

Gill will report to Endemol India managing director Deepak Dhar. According to information available, Gill will be responsible for all films that will be greenlit by the company. As a first step, the company is primarily looking at productions and co-productions.

As was first reported by Businessofcinema.com, Gill resigned from Studio 18 earlier this year. He was with the company since December 2006 and in his tenure worked on films like Jab We Met, Welcome, Singh Is Kinng, Golmaal Returns and Ghajini.

In India, Endemol kick-started its operations in early 2006 with the non-fiction format show Bigg Boss (Big Brother), which has seen three seasons so far with hosts like Arshad Warsi, Shilpa Shetty and Amitabh Bachchan. Additionally, Endemol also produced the Indian version of Fear Factor – Khatron Ke Khiladi with Akshay Kumar as host for two seasons, whereas Priyanka Chopra will host the third season. The company also forayed into fiction programming in the regional space.

However, globally, Endemol has not directly forayed into the mainstream motion picture business. In March this year, the company acquired a controlling stake in Russian entertainment company WeiT Media, which focuses on feature film production, drama, animation and entertainment content, documentaries and TV movies along with content for the digital media. In 2008, Endemol had also picked up a stake in Argentina’s Telenovela production company – Underground. Incidentally, Underground produced a feature film Ringo, which is a biopic on the Argentinean heavyweight boxer Ringo Bonavena. Additionally, Endemol’s subsidiary company Endemol Sports recently announced that it had joined hands with Manchester City FC to produce a film titled Blue Moon Rising, which will follow a group of Manchester City fans throughout the 2009-10 season. With almost no international experience in the movies’ space, Endemol’s Indian foray and path ahead solely rests on the shoulders of the team here.

Recently independent international studio Relativity Media also announced its foray into the Indian film market. With new players entering the motion picture business in India, the scenario ahead will be interesting to watch.