Reliance adds local names in prod'n push

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Reliance Big Entertainment, the film arm of the Indian conglomerate courting Steven Spielberg and other top Hollywood names, strengthened its Bollywood roots Wednesday by forming a pact with India's first family of filmmaking.

RBE, a division of Reliance ADA, will launch a production entity with Amitabh Bachchan and his family of actors to produce movies and TV shows, president Rajesh Sawhney said.

The Bachchans include Amitabh's actress wife Jaya, their actor son Abhishek and his wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, a former Miss Universe who has acted in such films as "Bride & Prejudice" and the upcoming "Pink Panther 2."

At the Festival de Cannes in May, RBE announced a $1 billion pact with the production banners of some of Hollywood's biggest names, including George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

The new unnamed RBE-Bachchan entity will see RBE handle finance, marketing, distribution and other management issues while "the Bachchans will focus on creative aspects," Sawhney said.

Without providing investment figures, he termed the agreement "long-term and open-ended."

The Times of India speculated that the deal could be worth about $300 million, but Sawhney dismissed the figure as "baseless." (partialdiff)
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