Disney, YRF tooning up Indian feature slate

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Walt Disney Studios and Mumbai-based Bollywood banner Yash Raj Films Studios last week unveiled a pact to co-produce computer-animated films featuring Indian talent (HR 6/13).

The announcement was made in Mumbai by Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook, Disney Studios president of motion picture marketing and distribution Mark Zoradi and YRF managing director Yash Chopra.

This marks the first collaboration between the companies, which will see the co-produced films supervised by YRF creative director Aditya Chopra, with computer animation done entirely in India.

Both companies will equally contribute creative, technical and financial support to the films, which will be released in various Indian languages and distributed locally by YRF and internationally by Disney.

"Animation is a new and rapidly expanding area in India, and the collaboration between Disney and YRF Studios will bring the very best in storytelling and cutting-edge technology together as we make wonderful films that appeal to the entire family," Cook said.

The first Disney-YRF film will be "Roadside Romeo," which already is in production and slated for 2008, produced by Aditya Chopra and directed by Jugal Hansraj and featuring the voices of Bollywood stars Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor.

Animation for "Romeo" is being handled by Tata ELXSI Ltd., which has facilities in Mumbai and Bangalore.

Though a budget wasn't given, a report in the Wall Street Journal stated that the Disney-YRF films will cost $4 million-$10 million.

Zoradi said that the Disney-YRF alliance is "exclusive for animation features but we will work with other Indian partners for live-action features. Disney-YRF aim to do at least one animation feature every year. We should be announcing our next animation feature within six months."
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