19 movies in UTV's kitty, 'Jodhaa Akbar' no damper

Feb 24, 2008


Mumbai, Feb 25 (IANS) Undeterred by the not-too-encouraging box office verdict of its latest offering "Jodhaa Akbar", UTV has lined up 19 movies for release this year.

"This is a mixed bouquet of movies, each with its distinct identity. We are confident that each of these will find its own audience," said Siddharth Roy Kapoor, UTV's executive vice president, marketing, distribution and syndication.

Of these, UTV has produced or acquired distribution rights for some, co-produced a few and has entered into tie-ups with the rest.

What makes UTV so ambitious at a time when its box office fortunes are proving so fickle with "Jodhaa Akbar"? Industry watchers say the future of a movie production house is not determined by box office response alone. There are several other ways for a production company to make money like selling film rights, both domestic and offshore, distribution and tying up with television channels and bigger production houses globally.

UTV is the first Indian company to have tied up with Fox, besides Disney and Sony. UTV's animation division already has a Rs.800 million deal in place with Hollywood actor Will Smith's production house, Overbook, and a Rs.400 million deal with Porchlight Pictures to make cartoon features.

The movies it has lined up for release from March include "Race" by Tips Films' and "A Wednesday" by Friday Filmworks & Anjum Rizvi Film Co. And then, there are three movies, "Aamir," "Mahadev Ka Sajjanpur" and "Dev D", made under its new banner UTV Spotboy.

The production house will also release M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening", a thriller starring Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo and Spencer Breslin. UTV has co-produced the movie with 20th Century Fox and the two will share global revenues of "The Happening" in every media equally.

Other movies made under the banner, scheduled to release this year are - "Bombay Meri Jaan", "Dhoondte Reh Jaaoge", "Shoebite", "Star", "Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye", "7G Rainbow Colony", "Alibaba and the 41 Thieves" and "Arjun".

UTV Motion Pictures has also tied up with Bhandarkar Entertainment for "Fashion", with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Productions for "Dilli 6", with Sohail Khan Productions for "Main Aur Mrs. Khanna" and "Kisaan" and with Epiphany Films for "The Dream Blanket".

So, the company's movie release calendar is full of red-letter dates till the yearend.

The first of these movies, "Race", directed by the action-director brothers, Abbas and Mustan Burmawalla, is due for a March 7 release. The cast includes Anil Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Katrina Kaif, Bipasha Basu, Akshaye Khanna and Sameera Reddy.

"A Wednesday", directed by Neeraj Pandey, features Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher in key roles.

Television actor Rajeev Khandelwal of "Kahiin To Hoga" television series fame makes his big screen debut with "Aamir", directed by Raj Kumar Gupta.

"Bombay Meri Jaan" is based on terrorist bombs that ripped the coaches of a Mumbai suburban local train July 11, 2006. Directed by Nishikant Kamat, Paresh Rawal, Kay Kay Menon, Irrfan Khan, R. Madhavan and Soha Ali Khan form the cast.

"Mahadev Ka Sajjanpur", directed by Shyam Benegal, has Shreyas Talpade, Amrita Rao and Ravi Kishen in the cast while Kunal Khemu, Zayed Khan, Soha and Paresh form the cast of "Dhoondte Reh Jaaoge", directed by Omesh Shukla.

"Dev D", starring Abhay Deol, Mahi Gill and Kalki, has been directed by Anurag Kashyap. Director Madhur Bhandarkar's movie on the grime and grit behind the glamour of the fashion industry, "Fashion", has Priyanka Chopra and Kangna Ranaut leading the cast.

Amitabh Bachchan, Sarika, Jimmy Shergil and Dia Mirza starrer "Shoebite" is being directed by Sujit Sircar. The much-talked-about "Dilli 6", a Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra movie, will see Abhishek Bachchan pairing with Sonam Kapoor for the first time.

"Star", directed by Ken Ghosh, has Shahid Kapoor playing the title role of a star. Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Sohail Khan form the key cast of "Main aur Mrs. Khanna", directed by Prem Soni.

"Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!" features Abhay Deol, Paresh Rawal and Neetu Chandra in the cast. It has been directed by Dibakar Banerjee.

Jackie Shroff, Arbaaz Khan, Dia Mirza and Sohail Khan play major roles in "Kisaan", directed by Puneet Sira.

UTV's three animation films, "Alibaba and the 41 Thieves", "Arjun" and "The Dream Blanket" will also be released in the latter part of the year. While Soumitra Ranade has directed "Alibaba", "Arjun" has been directed by Arnab Chaudhri and "The Dream Blanket" by Simi Nallaseth.

Besides these 19 movies, UTV will also release "Phir Kabhi", starring Dimple Kapadia, Mithun Chakraborty and Rati Agnihotri, "Kismat Konnection", starring Shahid Kapoor and Vidya Balan and Karol Bagh Film Entertainment's "Howai Dada", starring Tanuja and Anupam Kher, this year.

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