Q&A: Amit Khanna


Reliance Big Entertainment Chairman Amit Khanna spoke with The Hollywood Reporter's India correspondent Nyay Bhushan in New Delhi on Thursday, the day after RBE announced the DreamWorks deal.

Amit Khanna (Getty)
The Hollywood Reporter: For anybody venturing into Hollywood, nothing could be more high profile than a deal with Steven Spielberg. But since last year, RBE has also inked "production silos" with major A-listers such as George Clooney and Brad Pitt, among others. Did you have a multiple strategy from day one to fuel RBE's global ambitions?

Amit Khanna: We are always looking at whatever opportunities come our way. It's not that one deal has any influence on the other. They can co-exist and even complement each other because I really don't see any contradiction between our various agreements. At the end of the day, RBE is positioned as a global entertainment major and our synergies reflect that in various ways.

THR: Will there be more chances of RBE's deals with individual A-listers synergizing with DreamWorks given the common link with RBE?

Khanna: In Hollywood, each deal is unique. I wouldn't assume that just because there is a common link then that automatically implies there will be more synergies (between our various partners). At the end of the day, deals are worked out on a project to project basis.

THR: So it's confirmed that RBE is an equal stakeholder in DreamWorks SKG after this agreement?

Khanna: Yes, we are equal partners with RBE holding 50% equity in the venture.

THR: How do you see the DreamWorks deal benefiting RBE's activities in India specifically?

Khanna: Well, obviously we will now have access to great content from DreamWorks for distribution in India across various platforms. But again, I wouldn't take a myopic view of this by just looking at one market since RBE really works as a global player. India is definitely the growth market where we are strongly positioned through our various existing ventures (such as India's largest theatrical chain Big Cinemas and banner Big Pictures, among others).

THR: How do you see the DreamWorks deal expanding creative collaborations between Indian talent and Hollywood?

Khanna: I think there will definitely be more cross-cultural interaction in some way. But it really depends on the nature of any given project. Generally speaking, there is a lot of global interest in India.

THR: Will Steven Spielberg be visiting India soon?

Khanna: Yes, there are plans of him visiting towards the end of the year in which time he would like to learn more about India.