Studio18 names Malhotra COO

Former Balaji Telefilms exec replaces Bhargava

NEW DELHI -- Studio18, the film distribution and production arm of Viacom18, announced the appointment of Vikram Malhotra as chief operating officer.

This follows the resignation in June of Sandeep Bhargava, who additionally headed film investment entity The Indian Film Co. also owned by Viacom18, a joint venture with diversified broadcasting group Network18. Malhotra will report to Network18 CEO Haresh Chawla.

Malhotra was earlier COO of TV production house Balaji Telefilms, where he was responsible for the group's film production arm that recently released titles such as “Love, Sex Aur Dhokha” and “Once Upon A Time in Mumbai."

“The Indian film market is experiencing a transformation in the kind of movies that are being created, especially with its focus on new age cinema. We believe that Malhotra, with his experience ranging from mainstream to new age cinema, will be best suited to take Studio18 into a new phase," Chawla said, announcing the appointment.

“Looking ahead, I believe that movies in India is not just a business but also a religion. And this makes the domain that much more exciting and challenging. Studio18 has done a great job since its launch with films like “Jab We Met," “Welcome," “Singh Is King” and “Ghajini” amongst others and I look forward to creating the blueprint for its growth ahead,” said Malhotra.

In March, Studio18 saw the departure of its top executives including one of its founding team members, senior VP, marketing, distribution and syndication, Priti Shahani and director of domestic distribution Aman Gill.