Reliance MediaWorks nabs 'Today's Special'

Company acquires North American rights to culinary comedy

Reliance MediaWorks has acquired North American rights to Inimitable Pictures' culinary comedy "Today's Special," starring Aasif Mandvi and featuring Indian actress and cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey.

Directed by David Kaplan, the English-language film, written by Mandvi and Jonathan Bines, is based on Mandvi's play "Sakina's Restaurant." The actor plays a sous chef who dreams of opening an upscale Manhattan eatery but is forced to take over his family's tandoori restaurant in the Little India neighborhood of Jackson Heights in Queens.

The film was produced by Nimitt Mankad's Inimitable as the company's first feature and Lillian LaSalle's Sweet 180, which also manages Mandvi, who appears onscreen in "The Last Airbender."

The movie also stars Indian film icon Naseeruddin Shah, Jess Weixler, Kevin Corrigan and Dean Winters.

Reliance, which has been making inroads into the U.S. market with such Hindi-language films as "Raavan" and "3 Idiots," will release "Special" nationwide Oct. 8 on the theater track it's been developing to reach Indian-American audiences.

The deal was negotiated by Uday Kumar, head of North America for Reliance, and Mankad.

" 'Today's Special' is a heartwarming New York fable that will charm and delight audiences across North America," Kumar said. "With our groundbreaking success of '3 Idiots' and the enormous popularity of Indian food, we can reach a wide audience of movie fans, who are craving a great tandoori comedy. This is the perfect film for us to reach out into the world of English-language features."

The movie premiered last fall at the London Film Festival, was the opening-night film at the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival and won audience prizes at fests in Palm Springs and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
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