Disney greenlights four films for India

Move precedes release of 'Roadside Romeo' this month

NEW DELHI -- Signaling Hollywood’s growing interest in the Indian film industry, The Walt Disney Company India will produce four live action features under its local banner Walt Disney Pictures India.

“We have finalized two projects to start with, which include ‘The 19th Step’ starring top South Indian actor Kamal Hassan, directed by Bharat Bala. The second feature is ‘Zokkomon’ starring top child actor Darsheel Safari directed by Satyajit Bhatkal,” a WDCI spokesperson said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

A timeline for both films is being finalized. Budgets were not given. Two other features are at the development stage.

Along with Hassan, “The 19th Step” will feature Japanese star Asano Tadanabo and Indian actress Asin. Its director Bharat Bala is one of India’s most well-known music video directors. “Step” is said to revolve around the ancient Indian martial arts form Kalarippayattu and will be a multi-lingual Indian release.

“Zokkomon” is a children’s story. “Zokkomon” boy actor Safari won acclaim for last year’s hit “Taare Zameen Par” (“Stars On Earth”) which tackled the theme of child dyslexia. Recently, Walt Disney Home Video acquired “Stars” for international video distribution in select territories by Walt Disney Home Video.

Disney made its first foray into here last year via an exclusive three-picture deal, to equally co-produce animation movies with veteran Mumbai-based banner Yash Raj Films. The first release “Roadside Romeo” – voiced by top Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan and actress Kareena Kapoor -- opens October 24.