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WikiLeaks: Holly-Bolly joint venture is difficult

ibnlive.com
Sep 08, 2011 at 05:17pm IST

New Delhi: Although the major Hollywood film studios have started to claim their part in Bollywood, world's largest film making market, still the growth so far should be considered slow, says a recently released WikiLeaks cable.

The cable further says that the lucrative Indian market has been targeted by all top U.S. studios including Sony, Disney, and Warner Brothers that have produced Hindi movies in collaboration with Indian makers.

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However, except for some dubbed Hollywood films, these joint ventures have not done well at the box office in India.

WikiLeaks: Holly-Bolly joint venture difficult

Hollywood studios have started to claim their part in Bollywood but the growth rate is very slow.

The Indian film industry with its more than 3 billion viewership caters to the audiences of several vernacular languages but is still eluded for Hollywood giants.

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The cable quotes Sanjeev Lamba, the CEO of Reliance Big Pictures which runs Anil Ambani's Reliance ADA group's movie business, saying," that comparatively, revenues from Indian cinema, although growing, are still just a fraction of Hollywood's movie revenues."

However, Lamba dubbed Indian cinema as 'fiercely domestic' and explained that Hollywood films account for just three to six percent of the Indian film industry's total revenues.

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The document goes on to explain how Indian producers are rescheduling the release of their films to avoid clashes with Hollywood biggies, however this is true for only specific genre films including action that have relatively wider reach in India.

After realizing the limited potential of Indian film market, big Hollywood studios have joined hands with acclaimed Indian filmmakers to produce joint ventures.

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Sony pictures has signed a three film deal with Pritish Nandy Communication, while Warner Brothers has tied up with People Tree Films for production and distribution help. Some other foreign studios are also in talks with Indian filmmakers.

Walt Disney has already produced an animation film with Yash Raj Films, apart from acquiring a major stake holding in UTV Motion Pictures.

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Several international celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, Kylie Minogue and Sylvester Stallone have either appeared or planning to appear on Indian screens due to these joint ventures.

Unfortunately, the exchange between the Hollywood and the Bollywood has not proved much fruitful so far, making it tough for big investors.

Blaise Fernandes, the Managing Director of Warner Brothers India, notes in the cable that it is difficult to convince the larger Indian film production houses to partner with Hollywood.

Siddharth Roy Kapur, CEO, UTV Motion Picture, says," Bollywood production studios view Hollywood as a competitor. The only reason they would seek a joint collaboration would be to de-risk the film project by jointly investing in its production, or to re-make Hollywood movies in Hindi."

Aashish Singh, Vice President of Yash Raj Studios, also believes the same and says that Hollywood studios have little to offer besides finance.

Therefore, despite huge potential and great money investing capacity, Hollywood studios are going to find it difficult to invest in the world's largest film market any time soon.

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