MUMBAI: The new entrant in the movie space ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Studio 18 – a division of the TV 18 group – is betting big on the overseas market by the look of things.
In its first year itself (2007), the international marketing and distribution division of the organisation, is looking at releasing more than six films overseas. Studio 18 recently hired UTV’s Ashoka Holla and Tanuj Garg as senior vice president (international distribution and syndication) and country head (UK and Ireland) respectively. Gayathiri Rajan Batra, reportedly ex-Star and Sahara, is also said to have joined Holla’s team.
The first release from the corporate’s stable is likely to be Raj Kumar Santoshi’s much-awaited Halla Bol, which is nearing completion and has been scheduled to release in May or June this year.
Halla Bol, being co-produced by Studio 18, stars Ajay Devgan and Vidya Balan, with Tusshar Kapoor in a special appearance. Studio 18 will also distribute the film overseas. With Halla Bol, the combination of Santoshi and Devgan will be back in the reckoning after Khakee and Bhagat Singh.
Remarks Holla, “From an overseas perspective, this year we are looking at seven – eight releases of diverse genres, scales and budgets.”
Studio 18’s first overseas release comes from the makers of Don – Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd., produced by Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar, and directed by Reema Kagti. With music by Vishal-Shekhar, the film’s cast comprises Shabana Azmi, Boman Irani, Raima Sen, Kay Kay Menon, Amisha Patel, Karan Khanna, Sandhya Mridul, Vikram Chatwal, Minissha Lamba, Abhay Deol, Dia Mirza and Ranvir Sheorey. It is scheduled for a worldwide release on 23 February.
Says Garg, “In addition to the US and UAE, we will give Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd a focused theatrical release in the UK as well. Ritesh and Farhan are extremely proactive producers and it’s time someone started developing the international theatrical market for quality mid-rung films.”
Kya Love Story Hai, on the other hand, features Tusshar Kapoor and Ayesha Takia, with Kareena Kapoor in a guest appearance. This will be Tusshar Kapoor’s first solo overseas release.
Studio 18 has also lined up 1971: Prisoners of War, which is scheduled to release in March. The film has been acquired by the company and directed by Amrit Sagar (grandson of Ramanand Sagar). “In the overseas, we will give 1971: Prisoners of War, a credible DVD release overseas,” Garg states.
Apart from these, Studio 18 has already inked a co-production deal with Ravi Chopra’s BR Films for Bhootnath, which stars Amitabh Bachchan and Juhi Chawla with Shah Rukh Khan in a special appearance, and is slated to release later this year.