Bachchan signs three-pic Toonz deal

Animation house already working on first film, 'Twinergy'

HONG KONG -- Amitabh Bachchan Corp., a private company belonging to Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan, has struck a three-picture deal with Toonz Animation India, one of Asia's leading cartoon houses.    
 
Production is now underway on "Twinergy," a CGI-animated movie about two superheroes with complementary powers. Being directed by the prolific Priyardashan ("Hungama," "Bhool Bhulaiyaa") on a budget of some $5 million, the picture is set for delivery at the end of 2010.
 
"Amitabh Bachchan is providing his character rights, his voice and a commitment to marketing. So there is real value there, if not hard cash," Toonz CEO P. Jayakumar told The Hollywood Reporter.

Bachchan was the off-screen superstar hallowed in the early scenes of "Slumdog Millionaire" and according to some measures he is the most recognized person on the planet. The 67-year old Bachchan stars as a 13-year old boy with a rare genetic disorder in "Paa," a human drama produced by AB Corp. and given a global release Friday by Reliance Big Pictures.
 
"'Twinergy' is a film first of all for the Indian domestic and diaspora markets and we've had approaches from all of the major Indian studios. But as animation production is a slow process we have time to get our distribution options right in India and the international markets," said Jayakumar.
 
Indian media had incorrectly linked Time-Warner's Turner International as a third party to the Toonz-AB Corp production pact.
 
As well as making films for Indian audiences, Kerala-based Toonz has become a major co-producer alongside western studios. It has productions with the likes of Hallmark ("Finley, the Fire Truck,") Paramount Pictures ("Dragonlance"), the BBC and Marvel ("Wolverine") and Hyde Park Entertainment ("The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus.")
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