India's Viacom18 Announces 2011 Movie Slate

The revamped unit is also floating Tipping Point Films for youth-centric features.

NEW DELHI -- Viacom18 Motion Pictures has announced its slate for the financial year 2011-12 (ending March), which includes 10-12 movies, with nine titles already in various stages of production.

One of Viacom18's major releases is Players, an official remake of The Italian Job starring top actor Abhishek Bachchan and actress Sonam Kapoor. Players is directed by brothers Abbas-Mastan who are known for their stylish action capers such as 2008's hit Race.

Iconic Bollywood superstar and Abhishek's father Amitabh Bachchan will star in Buddah (Old Man) directed by Puri Jagannadh, co-produced by Viacom18 Motion Pictures with Bachchan's banner AB Corp.

Owned as an equal joint venture entity between Viacom Inc. and diversified broadcasting group Network18, Viacom18 Motion Pictures acquired Network18's film unit The Indian Film Co. last year.

Founded as a specialist film investment entity, TIFC was listed on London's Alternative Investment Market in June 2007 where it raised £55 million ($83.4 million) to fund its portfolio of films, which included last year's Indian arthouse release Road, Movie and British director Gurinder Chadha's latest It's A Wonderful Afterlife. TIFC's earlier releases via affiliate Studio 18 included Bollywood hits such as Ghajini, Singh Is Kinng, Jab We Met and Golmaal Returns.

Following the takeover of TIFC and a revamped management structure in place, Viacom18 Motion Pictures' first release will be romantic musical Tanu Weds Manu that opens February 25, followed by collaborations with acclaimed writer/director Anurag Kashyap that include Gangs of Waseeypur, Michael (working title) and Shaitan (Devil).

“Our release slate for the financial year 2011-12 is a reflection of our direction in the Indian film industry – to establish a significant presence across various spectrums of this business. We have an unparalleled slate with films which span diverse genres right from rom-coms to action, from thrillers to drama,” Viacom18 Motion Pictures COO Vikram Malhotra said.

The company has also launched an affiliate banner Tipping Point Films which will cater to urban and edgy youth-centric films co-produced with film financing entity iRock Media.