Eros International bets big on co-production model for films


    MUMBAI: As the AIM listed Eros International gears up to list on Indian bourses, the company is also betting big on the co-production model for movies. While it released two co-productions this year (Kambakkth Ishq with Sajid Nadiadwala and Love Aaj Kal with Saif Ali Khan), plans are to target at least ten film co-productions for 2010 and twelve for 2011.

    Of these, at least 11 films with top bracket actors have been locked in. While more films are likely to be added to its kitty going forward, as of now 11 Hindi movie co-productions have been finalised in association with Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, Akshay Kumar’s Hari Om Productions, Sanjay Dutt Productions, Saif Ali Khan’s Illuminati Films, Sajid Nadiadwala’s Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment and Venus Films.

    Eros International chairman Kishore Lulla says, "Eros is poised to take the lead in further consolidating its market position in the current economic climate, given the company’s size, scale and liquidity. We will achieve this through a combination of strategic alliances and targeted synergistic EBITDA enhancing acquisitions funded through internal cash generation as well as a potential Indian listing."

    Speaking on the co-production model, Lulla explains, "The company has consciously moved up the value chain to a co-production model where we secure content at the cost of production. Co-productions gives us greater control over costs, quality, scale and mix of films as well as visibility and control over release dates with the benefits over the intellectual property in perpetuity. Also, co-production reduces the time from commencement to project completion from about two years to 12-18 months, and provides consequential benefits to cash flow and working capital management."

    Eros has a handful of big releases lined up for end 2009 – 2010. Slotted for release on 30 October is the Amitabh Bachchan, Ritiesh Deshmukh starrer Aladin. Also in the pipeline is the Akshay Kumar starrer De Dhana Dhan, which is directed by Priyadarshan and co-produced by Venus Films, which will release on 27 November. On the other hand, Salman Khan’s Veer is scheduled for release in 2010.

    Apart from these, there are seven other films, which are in production and pre-production stages and are tentatively scheduled to release in 2011. Eros International’s two big co-productions – namely Priyadarshan’s Khatta Meetha in association with Akshay Kumar’s Hari Om Productions and Siddharth Anand’s Anjaana Anjaani in association with Sajid Nadiadwala will go on floors in October this year. Khatta Meetha stars Akshay Kumar and is a romantic comedy to be directed by Priyadarshan, whereas Anjaana Anjaani directed by Siddharth Anand stars Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra.

    The company will co-produce a romantic musical with Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, which will star SRK. The yet untitled film is currently in pre-production. With Sanjay Dutt Productions, Eros will be working on an action thriller, which is in its scripting stage and will have Dutt in the lead.

    Eros is also co-producing Agent Vinod with Saif Ali Khan’s production company Illuminati Films. The romantic, action franchise, which is in pre-production, will star Saif and Kareena Kapoor. An untitled romantic drama with Hrithik Roshan in the lead, which is currently in its scripting stage is also on the cards.

    On the other hand, the shooting for Sajid Khan’s Housefull, which is Eros’ co-production with Nadiadwala, has also begun. The rom com stars Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone.

    Apart from the above major releases, Eros is planning to release at least 10 other niche films as well as regional language films in Marathi, Punjabi and Tamil languages.