Fox’s Star India and Bollywood Studio Dharma Productions Announce 9 Film Deal
Fox Star Studios will co-produce the films with Dharma which will feature some of Bollywood’s top talent.
21st Century Fox’s Star India and leading Bollywood studio Dharma Productions have announced a “creative partnership” that will see both entities co-producing and distributing films worldwide. While financial details were not given, the pact covers nine films over three years.
Dharma is headed by one of Bollywood’s most successful film-makers, Karan Johar, 43, who made his directorial debut with the 1998 hit Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Something Happens) starring Shah Rukh Khan. When Fox Star Studios was formed in 2006 as a joint venture between 21st Century Fox and Star India, the studio’s first major release was Johar’s My Name Is Khan (also starring Khan).
The Star-Dharma deal will see films featuring top talent such as actresses Aishwarya Rai and Alia Bhatt and actors Akshay Kumar and Ranbir Kapoor, among others. The films will be helmed by directors from Dharma’s stable such as Ayan Mukherjee, Karan Malhotra and Johar, among others.
“The Indian film industry is an important market for us and this strategic partnership offers us an excellent opportunity to fundamentally change the content quality paradigm,” Star India CEO Uday Shankar said in a statement. “This venture is the natural step in our progression to create entertaining and eclectic content for a global audience and to grow the business through game-changing innovation in content, marketing and distribution.”
“This partnership will not only be the coming together of two forces who understand the need of the cinematic hour but also work as a unit to increase the footfall strength at the movies and empower other verticals,” added Johar.
The Indian film industry is going through a slump with a recent industry report by consultants KPMG India stating that there was almost zero growth in 2014 with total revenues touching $2.1 billion (compared to $2.08 billion in 2013).
Fox Star Studios – which works in conjunction with Fox International Productions - has had a disappointing run at the box office with its recent release Bombay Velvet scoring poorly. The ambitious period drama – with a budget estimated at about $15 million (rupees 900 million) - was the latest from director Anurag Kashyap whose acclaimed two part Gangs of Wasseypur wowed Cannes in 2012.
Fox Star Studios CEO Vijay Singh said the pact with Dharma will chalk “a new path for Bollywood, specifically in the way in which films are marketed and distributed. Consolidation through strategic alliances is the way forward in the film industry.”
Dharma Productions CEO Apoorva Mehta added that the pact “is by far the biggest collaboration that the Indian film industry has ever seen… and it definitely looks like the beginning of a game-changing era for the industry.”
The Star India network broadcasts over 40 channels in seven languages, and claims a reach of over 720 million viewers every week across India and a hundred countries.
Dharma Productions was founded in 1976 by Johar’s late father Yash Johar, who produced well-known Bollywood titles such as Dostana starring Amitabh Bachchan. Among Dharma’s upcoming projects is sports drama Brothers, an official remake of the Tom Hardy starrer Warrior, jointly produced by Lionsgate and Endemol India’s banner Eyedentity Motion Pictures.