Vistaar, Religare launch Indian film fund

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NEW DELHI -- Mumbai-based Vistaar Entertainment Ventures and New Delhi financial services company Religare Enterprises Ltd. are teaming in the creation of a $51 million joint venture capital fund dedicated to producing Indian and foreign films.

The Vistaar Religare Film Fund, announced Tuesday, will produce about four Indian films during the year, in addition to "A.R.T.," an international co-production with Japanese banner Asia Content Center, Vistaar chairman Sheetal Talwar told The Hollywood Reporter.

"This film has a budget of about $20 million and we will be contributing half with the balance from various co-producers," he said. The director and international cast are still being determined, with "A.R.T." scheduled for a late 2009 release.

Indian projects include the next film by "Dharm" director Bhavna Talwar and a directorial outing by acclaimed veteran actor Pankaj Kapur. "The total outlay for our Indian projects is about $10 million," Talwar said.

Religare's financial services portfolio includes partnerships with such global players as Australian financial advisory group Macquaire and global insurance major Aegon.

VRFF is touted as India's first regulated film fund and holding company Vistaar Religare Capital Advisors Ltd. has filed for approval with regulatory body Securities and Exchange Board of India.

"We are open to working with talent from across the board since that is the purpose of a venture fund, which is what we have seen angel investors achieving in other sectors such as information technology but not specifically in films," Talwar said.

"VRFF is a strong combination of sharp, seasoned financial minds along with experienced and innovative minds from the business of entertainment and films," Religare Enterprises CEO and managing director Sunil Godhwani added.
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