UTV's Spotboy adds 3 Hindi film projects

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NEW DELHI -- UTV Motion Pictures, which listed on London's Alternative Investment Market in July to raise $70 million, announced three new Hindi film projects Monday via its Mumbai-based subsidiary Spotboy Motion Pictures.

Established in May, Spotboy announced its first production agreement in August with Bangalore-based Virgin Comics -- founded by Richard Branson, Shekhar Kapur ("Elizabeth") and Deepak Chopra -- to create four original superhero franchises leveraged across publishing, film, animation and gaming (HR 8/11).

Spotboy's latest projects -- "Mahadev" (Mighty Lord), "Dev D" and "Amir" -- will be helmed by veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal, Anurag Kashyap ("Black Friday") and first-time director Raj Kumar Gupta, respectively.

Spotboy creative and business head Vikas Bahl said the films will have "medium- to high-end budgets, depending on the nature of the project."

Benegal is taking a comic turn with "Mahadev," which examines life in a village seen through the eyes of a young man who wants to be a writer but ends up being a letter-writer outside the post office.

Explaining his film, which stars upcoming actor Abhay Deol, Kashyap said: "'Dev D' takes the classic romantic novel 'Devdas' into contemporary times. The idea is to make this well-known story relevant to today's generation."

"Amir" features its title character (TV actor Rajeev Khandelwal) as a young Muslim professional who lands at Mumbai Airport expecting to be greeted by his family but instead is thrown a cell phone and from that moment has to follow instructions of a faceless, nameless voice.

Bahl said that "Mahadev" already has begun shooting while "Amir" rolls at the end of October. Filming on "Dev D" will begin in January.

The plan is to release all three films in 2008.
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