Former Viacom18 India Top Executive Launches Indie Film Banner

Vikram Malhotra

Vikram Malhotra, who earned a reputation for offbeat releases that performed well, says his Abundantia Entertainment will focus on “progressive” cinema.

NEW DELHI – Former Viacom18 Motion Pictures CEO Vikram Malhotra has launched his own independent banner, Abundantia Entertainment.

Malhotra headed joint venture Viacom18's film unit from 2010 until his resignation in May of this year. In his tenure, Malhotra greenlit films that were considered offbeat and even risky but ended up being commercially and critically acclaimed. Titles included Anurag Kashyap's two-part epic Gangs of Wasseypur and the Bombay Talkies ensemble of four films by leading directors Kashyap, Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar and Dibakar Banerjee, with both films premiering at Cannes in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

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Other notable hits included mystery thriller Kahaani, starring actress Vidya Balan, director Neeraj Pandey's crime caper Special 26, comedy hit Tanu Weds Manu, and most recently, director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, inspired by the life of one of India's living legends, former Olympic sprinter Milkha Singh. Starring Farhan Akhtar, the film has just crossed the coveted $17 million (one billion rupees) mark at the box office.

“Genre-breaking and progressive films -- and I have been associated with them for a while now -- are increasingly gaining ground on all fronts, from audience acceptance to financial return on investment and sustainability. This has given me the confidence to launch Abundantia. Our model is to structure equal partnerships with like-minded directors to set up and incubate deals on a project to project basis. The main focus is on creating high quality content,” Malhotra told The Hollywood Reporter.

Abundantia has signed multiple film deals with leading directors, including Nikhil Advani (titles include recent espionage thriller D-Day), Neeraj Pandey (Special 26) and Shoojit Sircar (Vicky Donor and the upcoming Madras Cafe).