'Italian Job' being remade in India

Abbas and Mustan Burmawalla will direct

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The Indian Film Company-Studio 18 is bankrolling an official Indian remake of classic 1960s caper movie "The Italian Job."

The picture will be directed by brothers Abbas and Mustan Burmawalla, who specialize in action movies and go by the joint name "Abbas Mustan." Production is set to begin at the end of the year and a cast has not yet been finalized.

"Our network's association with Viacom has provided us with the opportunity to explore legitimate remakes from Paramount Pictures' extensive film library," said Sandeep Bhargava, CEO of the advisory company that manages the company. TIFC is a London stock market-listed movie studio that is backed by Viacom and the Network 18 group, one of India's biggest media conglomerates.

Unauthorized remakes of Hollywood and other foreign films have long been a staple of the Indian film industry. But they are becoming increasingly problematic as rights holders now seek recourse through the Indian court system and as the Indian industry seeks global impact and engagement with Hollywood.

TIFC is currently in postproduction on the most recent Abbas Mustan effort "Life Partner," a comedy directed by Rumi Jaffrey, starring Govinda, Fardeen Khan, Tusshar Kapoor and Genelia D'Souza.

Separately, leading producer Karan Johar said Thursday that his Dharma Prods. is in advanced talks with Sony Pictures to produce an authorized remake of 1998 Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon-starrer "Stepmom." Sony's Mumbai offices offered no comment.

Patrick Frater reported from Cannes; Nyay Bhushan reported from Mumbai.