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Sony Pictures Television India’s unit Multi Screen Media and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s banner Red Chillies Entertainment have entered into a strategic alliance which will “explore opportunities in co-produced television, digital and film content.” Financial terms were not given.
The companies also announced that MSM has acquired the television rights to Khan’s upcoming Dilwale (The Big Hearted) which is slated for a Dec. 18 release and is co-produced by Red Chillies. The title, among the year’s most anticipated releases, reunites Khan with director Rohit Shetty after they delivered the 2013 hit Chennai Express (which was distributed by UTV Motion Pictures, a unit of Walt Disney India).
“This alliance is expansive and pans a spectrum of co-produced content,” said MSM CEO NP Singh, though further details on what kind of projects are in the pipeline were not given. “Moreover, it adds to MSM’s already extensive library of blockbuster films.”
In addition to a diversified broadcasting network spanning entertainment and sports, MSM also runs its film unit MSM Motion Pictures, which released this summer’s hit title Piku starring Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan and actress Deepika Padukone.
In recent years, the Indian arms of the Hollywood studios have become more active in local productions which has seen them striking alliances with major Bollywood players.
Recently, 21st Century Fox’s Star India and leading Bollywood studio Dharma Productions announced a “creative partnership” that will see both entities co-producing and distributing films worldwide. While financial details were not given, the pact covers nine films over three years.
Dharma is headed by one of Bollywood’s most successful filmmakers, Karan Johar, 43, who made his directorial debut with the 1998 hit Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Something Happens) starring Khan. When Fox Star Studios was formed in 2006 as a joint venture between 21st Century Fox and its broadcasting unit Star India, the studio’s first major release was Johar’s My Name Is Khan (also starring Khan).
“At first, the studios wanted to popularize Hollywood films here but our cinema is deeply rooted in Indian culture,” Khan, 50, told THR in a 2013 interview. “So now it’s good to see them producing Indian films. We also learn a lot from the experience of working with an international studio. … It’s a sign of changing times and will benefit Indian films to go international faster.”
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