Friday, May 30, 2008

Anil Ambani enters into Hollywood

Reliance Big Entertainment, the media and entertainment company of Reliance ADA Group, on Sunday announced a slew of deals with production firms of Hollywood stars including Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Jim Carrey, marking its entry into the Mecca of films.

At a conference here, Reliance Big Entertainment (RBE) chairman Amit Khanna said: "This initiative will yield up to 30 scripts in the next two years. We are confident that at least 10 of them will go into production during the period."

The Hollywood entities involved in the development deals, brokered by Los Angeles-based Creative Artists Agency (CAA), are Cage`s Saturn Productions, Carrey`s JC 23 Entertainment, Clooney`s Smokehouse Productions, Columbus` 1492 Pictures, Hanks` Playtone Productions, Pitt`s B Entertainment and Roach`s Everyman Pictures.

Terming this as the beginning of the company`s engagement with international film productions, Khanna said, "these deals alone have the potential of creating a slate of films worth USD 1 billion."

According to president RBE Rajesh Sawhney: "this is an announcement of the reach and potential of India`s steadily growing soft power. Reliance is paving the way and we are sure other Indian companies will also join the charge."

Sawhney added: "we respect the first-look deals that each of our partners enjoys (with the Hollywood majors), and we are confident that the respective studios will welcome our development silos and our subsequent co-financing ability."

"We will look at each silo and each film project differently," said Khanna.

Khanna said, the Hollywood partners would be a dedicated amount to develop films that they want to work in and then the films would go into production depending upon how the scripts shape up.

Dismissing suggestion that Reliance big was aiming to take on the Hollywood majors Khanna said: "we are not here to compete. We are here to collaborate. The global film production space is being redefined and we want to be at the forefront."

Asked whether any of the development deals would yield India-themed films, RBE`s creative consultant Prasoon Joshi said: "there would be no preconditions on our partners, but yes, we do hope our association with these Hollywood creative forces will eventually lead to the emergence of India-themed international films as well."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hollywood enters into Bollywood

Hollywood movies come to Hindi India’s global movie distribution company Eros International and US-based studio Loinsgate, which signed a deal last week to distribute movies in India, South Asia and North America, have decided to re-make a few popular Hollywood hits in Hindi with top Bollywood stars. Kishore Lulla, MD of Eros International, said that they also plan to make movies jointly both in Hindi and English with their own distribution networks.

’In our joint venture deal, we will now be able to distribute Hindi movies from our library extensively in the US home video market with support from Lionsgate, and at the same time, we will help Lionsgate to distribute movies and TV series from their library in India and South Asia through our own network,’ he added. Shah Rukh Khan’s Om Shanti Om, Anil Kapoor’s Gandhi My Father and Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Eklavya, The Royal Guard are among 20 movies Lionsgate will distribute in the US. In return, Eros International will have access to Lionsgate’s 12,000-movie library and TV series for distribution in India as well as in South Asian countries.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bollywood Starsmoved to real estate Business

Deepika Padukone is the latest to join these marquee names. Aspire Real Estate, a Dubai-based developer, has signed up the actress as its brand ambassador. "We are targeting India, and Deepika will add to our brand equity," said an Aspire spokesperson.

Bollywood celebrities don’t just peddle dreams but also dream homes. Real estate developers are now banking on the star power of the likes of Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai to endorse their projects.

Pune-based Brahma Developers uses actress Katrina Kaif to promote its SunCity project, Chandigarh-based LVL City has signed up cricketer Yuvraj Singh, Chadha Group has former cricketer Kapil Dev, AEZ group has actress Perizaad Zorabian while small screen star Shweta Tiwari of Kasauti Zindagi Ki fame was the brand ambassador for Gaursons Developers.

Kochi’s Jairaj Projects has roped in Malayalam film star Jayaram; SRK Constructions has singer Yesudas, cricketer Rahul Dravid endorses Skyline Housing, while another cricketer, S. Sreesanth, promotes the Kochi-based Mather Builders.

Sternon Real Estate, also of Dubai, has Mandira Bedi, TV anchor and actress, as brand ambassador for Magic Hills Residences, a project aimed at non-resident Indians on the Mumbai-Pune Highway.

Interestingly, the stars themselves seem to be falling for these campaigns, buying prime properties in Mumbai: Sachin Tendulkar has bought a Rs.350 million property in the elite suburb Bandra, Shah Rukh himself is reported to have shelled out Rs.560 million for an office space in Khar, while actor-politician Vinod Khanna has bought a 2,500 sq ft apartment at Malabar Hill for Rs.350 million.

There are many who aver that stars are being signed up more in an attempt to build brands than to propel sales.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tania Zaetta denied sex allegations

TV and film celebrity Tania Zaetta is likely to sue and demand compensation for unproven troop sex allegations. The 37-year-old actress was accused of having sex with Oz troops during her Middle East tour, however she strongly denied the allegations. Zaetta has decided to take legal action after the Defence Department admitted it broke its own privacy regulations by naming her in a high-level briefing document to Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.

In an interview to Nine Network’s A Current Affair, Zaetta said that she has briefed lawyers and believed she was owed an apology from the department. "How does a supposed document ... that I don’t know about get leaked in the first place - that’s a little bit concerning about the security of the country," quoted her as saying. "It’s complete made-up lies. I feel I am owed an apology," she added.

When asked if she had been alone with any soldiers during the 17-day tour, Zaetta said: "You were never alone with any soldiers - you were in full view of everybody else all the time."

According to the Daily Telegraph, the briefing document had named Zaetta as the subject of an unproven allegation - made by rock singer Angry Anderson - that she had sex with Special Forces troops at the Australian base of Tarin Kowt in Afghanistan. However, the former ’Who Dares Wins’ host supports Anderson.

"I asked him and I believed him when he said no. He wasn’t sure where it came from," said Zaetta. Defence has confirmed that an investigation into the claims is under way and yesterday "apologised unreservedly" to Zaetta for disclosing the claims.