Hindi or Tamil, Fox Star ready for production in India

September 11, 2009

fox star studiosNew Delhi, Having tapped the Indian market by distributing films like “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Quick Gun Murugun”, Hollywood studio Fox Star now wants to foray into production by collaborating with the “best talent”. And language is no bar.

“We only want to do five films a year. We are trying to really focus on and pick those films that audiences are really passionate about. We want to make films which entertain audiences and are commercially successful,” Fox Star CEO Vijay Singh told IANS in an interview.

“What is critical is that those five films have to represent something different about Bollywood going forward. We have to make sure that the elements and the process are right. We want to work with the best talent and that best talent could manifest itself with us,” he added.

Singh stressed a “portfolio” approach to the movies that would have a combo of “big, medium and small-budget” films.

“What we’ve set up in India is a studio approach (that is) both production and distribution. Our focus is to take the Bollywood films we make to the diaspora across the world,” said Singh.

“What we are trying to do is to see how we can do films which have something different about them. Looking back at the last 12-18 months, anything that’s working in Bollywood has a point of difference as doing more of the same is no longer the way out. Bollywood till date is making films only for Indians and the diaspora, but times are changing,” he added.

Fox Star has been hogging the limelight for acquiring the global rights of Karan Johar’s upcoming film “My Name Is Khan” – excluding music rights – reportedly for $20 million.

“My Name Is Khan is one of the most anticipated films and it doesn’t get bigger than that and we are really excited about it,” he said.

“We’ve also signed on a two-film deal each with Vipul (Amrutlal) Shah and A.R. Murugadoss. With Murugadoss, it’s going to be Tamil films and with Vipul, it’ll be mainstream cinema. We have another two-three films in a developing stage, but we would not like to announce them now,” he added.

As far as distribution goes, films made in India under Fox Star will be distributed here by that company, in the US by its sister company Fox Searchlight and in the rest of the world by parent group 20th Century Fox.

The studio has also been regularly releasing its international content in Tamil and Telugu dubbed versions apart from those in Hindi and English.

Singh said: “If we release only in English, we find that there is a scarcity of consumers. But if we are able to dub them, we are able to reach a much wider audience.

“There are a lot of people who are keen to see a Hollywood film but may be they are more comfortable hearing it in a language or idiom they are more familiar with and these four languages (Hindi, English, Tamil and Telugu) represent the biggest language opportunities that exist (here),” he explained.

A late entrant in the Indian market (2008), the joint venture company between 20th Century Fox and Asian media company Star, it has been maintaining an impressive growth rate especially after multiple-Oscar winning underdog drama “Slumdog Millionaire” that did a business of around Rs. 40 crore (Rs.400 million) in India alone.

Fox Star is also looking at a sequel to “Quick Gun…”, tentatively titled “The Good, The Bad and The Idli”.



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