Russia and India Move Toward Resuming Co-Production

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A co-production agreement is expected to restart joint film efforts, which came to a halt two decades ago.

Russian and Indian producers are preparing to resume co-production between the two countries, which stopped with the collapse of the Soviet Union 25 years ago and hope that the signing of a co-production agreement will bring the two film industries closer together.

A working group formed by India and Russia's culture ministries is currently figuring out details of a bilateral co-production agreement, said Ashish Sharma, head of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Center, at a roundtable meeting of Indian and Russian producers in Moscow, which was held within the framework of the Indian film festival. He added that he hopes the agreement will be signed soon.

"Signing the co-production agreement is a precondition for collaboration in film production," said Grigory Gevorkyan, president of the Russian film company Noi and former head of Sovexport film, a state-run organization in charge of international promotion of Russian films back in the Soviet era. He recalled the situation of three decades ago when India's government sponsored theaters screening Soviet films.

The Soviet era was the heyday of collaboration between the two countries in the area of film. Following the first co-production effort, the 1958 historic adventure Pardesi (Journey Beyond Three Seas), directed by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas and Vasily Pronin, Russia and India actively co-produced films. Also, in a situation when Western movies' access to Soviet theaters was limited, Indian films were almost always screened.

But in recent years, few Russian films have been released in India or Indian movies in in Russia. According to Indian producer Ronnie Lahiri, effort on a governmental level is necessary to reboot co-production between the two countries.

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