PVR Acquires Full Ownership of Film Unit

Merie Wallace/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
PVR Pictures also distributes foreign titles such as The Tree of Life

Leading exhibition chain PVR Ltd buys back the 40 percent stake held in its banner PVR Pictures by equity funds including JP Morgan.

NEW DELHI -- Multiplex pioneer and leading New Delhi-based exhibition chain PVR Ltd. has bought out the 40% stake held by equity funds J P Morgan and India Advantage Fund in its film banner PVR Pictures.

In addition to producing films, PVR Pictures is an active distributor of both Indian and international films such as the Twilight series and Terrence Malick's Tree of Life set for release in India in August.

While PVR did not disclose the size of the financial transaction, PVR Pictures MD Kamal Gianchandani told The Hollywood Reporter, “PVR Ltd now has full ownership of the film unit.”

PVR Ltd. opened India's first multiplex in Delhi in 1997 ushering in an exhibition revolution with the company now running 33 cinemas with 142 screens nationwide.

Diversifying into film production, PVR Pictures was launched in 2007 with PVR Ltd. owning 60% equity with the balance equity owned equally by J P Morgan Mauritius Holding and leading financial company ICICI Venture's India Advantage Fund. PVR Pictures tasted immediate success with its debut release Taare Zameen Par followed by romcom Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na.

The 2010-11 financial year saw the banner delivering titles such as historical drama Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se that performed below expectations.

While we are under no pressure to pursue a slate of films, one of our major upcoming productions is Shanghai (based on the best-selling novel Z by Vassilis Vassilikos which was also made into an acclaimed film by Costa Gravas),” added Gianchandani. “We are also considering other potential productions and will announce details once things are finalized.”

Directed by Dibankar Banerjee, political thriller Shanghai stars top actors Abhay Deol and Imraan Hashmi that will be released before the end of the 2011-12 financial year in March.

PVR Pictures' upcoming titles for distribution include the Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts-starrer Larry Crowne, Spy Kids 4 and The Three Musketeers while one of its major Bollywood titles is romantic drama Mausam starring Shahid Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor.