India's UTV takes 'Fear' straight to Web

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NEW DELHI -- UTV Motion Pictures will skip a theatrical release for "Fear," the upcoming supernatural thriller by Vikram Bhatt, making the film part of its expanding online distribution experiment, the company said Friday.

The move marks the latest sign that Bollywood's presence on legitimate online platforms is on the rise.

UTV COO Siddharth Roy Kapur said that "Fear," produced by veteran filmmaker Ramesh Sippy, will be released in August on DVD and "across multiple Web sites including Rajshri.com."

"The film will not be released theatrically," Kapur said in an interview.

UTV's March release of the cricket film "Hattrick" was its first experiment with an online premiere on Rajshri.com, the film download portal launched early this year by veteran Bollywood production house Rajshri Films.

In May, UTV partnered with Rajshri again, this time for the release of "Life in a Metro."

Both these films had a day-and-date online release alongside their theatrical rollout. In August, a regular download of "Fear" will cost $9.99 and a high-definition download $19.99.

In other evidence of the Bollywood migration to online distribution, London-based Eros Entertainment recently launched a dedicated Bollywood channel on Google's viral video Web site YouTube.
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