Ultra to pump Rs 200 mn in regional films’ prod & distribution

MUMBAI: Ultra India has set its sight on regional film production and distribution and will be investing close to Rs 200 million (Rs 20 crores) over the next one year on the same. The focus of the company will be on Marathi and Gujarati language films.

Speaking to Businessofcinema.com, Ultra India managing director Sushilkumar Agrawal says, "We decided to channel our attention towards regional cinema because there is a dearth of good films in these languages. Bhojpuri and South Indian language films have shown us the potential that regional films have."

Ultra will be releasing its first Gujarati film called Baap Dhamaal Dikra Kamaal on 15 August. The company’s first Marathi film titled Langad Martya Tangad is scheduled to release on 12 September. This movie is directed by Pitambar Kale starring Marathi superstar Bharat Jadhav. "This is the first time ever that graphics have been used in a Marathi film," informs Agrawal.

The company plans to release 10 films this financial year – six Marathi films, three Gujarati films and one Hindi film. "Our next Marathi film will go on floors in August. We plan to start one film every month. Our Hindi film, which is being made on a small budget will go on floors towards the end of the year," says Agrawal.

Additionally, Ultra India has earmarked approximately 15 – 20 Marathi films, about five – six Gujarati films and two Hindi films for 2009. "We may also look at Rajasthani language films next year for production," says Agrawal.

When queried as to why Ultra India was not planning more Hindi films, Agrawal reasons, "It is a known fact today artists who bring in the audiences are not available. The cost of Hindi film production is rising by the day and it involves high risk. That is the main reason why we decided not to focus on Hindi film production."

Ultra is also in the process of setting up its distribution division for regional films. The target is to have at least 10 Marathi films for distribution. "We will be acquiring Marathi language films from other producers for distribution as well as distribute our own films. There is no proper distribution chain for Marathi films today, which leads to small films missing out on a proper theatrical release. With our foray into regional films’ distribution, the aim is to encourage filmmakers to make good Marathi cinema, which can get a good opening window."