Four flicks in works at Walt Disney India


In another sign of Hollywood's growing interest in the Indian film industry, Walt Disney Co. India is planning a quartet of live-action features under its local banner, Walt Disney Pictures India.

"We have finalized two projects to start with," a WDCI spokesperson said Friday. " 'The 19th Step' stars top South Indian actor Kamal Hassan, directed by Bharat Bala. The second is 'Zokkomon,' starring top child actor Darsheel Safari and directed by Satyajit Bhatkal."

A timeline for both films is being finalized, and budgets were not given. Two other features are in the development process.

"Step" also will feature Japanese star Asano Tadanabo and Indian actress Asin. Bala is one of India's best-known music video directors. The film centers on the Indian martial arts form Kalarippayattu and will be a multilingual Indian release.

"Zokkomon" is a children's tale. Safari won acclaim last year for the hit "Stars on Earth," which tackled the theme of dyslexia. Walt Disney Home Video recently acquired the film for international distribution in select territories.

Disney made its first foray into local production last year with a three-picture deal to co-produce animation titles with Mumbai-based banner Yash Raj Films. The first release, "Roadside Romeo" — voiced by Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan and actress Kareena Kapoor