UTV, Rakeysh Mehra team up for four films

MUMBAI: UTV Motion Pictures and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Productions (ROMP) have joined hands to produce four films with a total outlay of Rs 2.80 billion (Rs 280 crores).

The gamut of films to be directed by Mehra includes Paanch Kaurav (5-K) (a trilogy) and Dilli-6 based on Mehra’s growing up years in Delhi.

The first ever for India a pre-announced and scripted trilogy Paanch Kaurav will be co-written by Hollywood scriptwriter Syd Field along with Mehra. Mehra and Rensil D’silva have already penned the first of series. It is the first time that a Indian film will be co-written by a Hollywood scriptwriter paving way for a whole new creative approach in the Indian film industry going forward, where films will be made for ‘movie audiences’ rather than a country or region specific, with a universal appeal. The trilogy would have a special focus on ancillary revenues that include retail, merchandising, console and mobile gaming using UTV’s gaming and animation strengths.

UTV CEO Ronnie Screvwala says, “We worked great together as a team on Rang De Basanti and we look forward to our next productions. We are all sitting at a very exciting time in motion picture history in India, thanks largely to changing, maturing and demanding tastes of audiences for our films. Today the challenge is in making strong Indian themes but for a pan Indian and global audience, and I think Rakeysh’s sensibilities in this area, with help from a mature hand like Syd in structured screenplay and our joint vision of taking Indian cinema to a new level of creativity and communication and to a growing diaspora for Indian content, will make this partnership over the next few years will be very rewarding and challenging.”

“Today like the West, Indian cinema is focusing on garnering world class expertise on the film script, which is the real hero, resulting in world-class production, with universal sensibilities that appeals to a global audience. With our current co-productions it is our desire to bring cinema for the global audience and our endeavor will be to Indianize entertainment,” added Mehra.

UTV and ROMP also in talks with Hollywood studios like Disney, Fox and Sony for global partnerships on this slate.

First to go on floors in late 2007 will be Dilli-6. Based on Mehra’s growing up years in Chandni Chowk area of New Delhi. The first of the trilogy, whose working title is Paanch Kaurav will be directed by Mehra, to go on floors in 2008. While the second and third of the trilogy is open with an option to be directed either by Mehra or an Indian/global talent.