Magazine article Variety

In India, DISNEY GOES BOLLYWOOD

Magazine article Variety

In India, DISNEY GOES BOLLYWOOD

Article excerpt

Trio of local titles to get the studio's brand - with an eye to wider distribution

Disney is making a bold move in India next year, releasing three high-profile Bollywood movies under its own label in a territory that has been notoriously tough for U.S. studios to crack - a potentially lucrative market that until recently has largely resisted Hollywood movies in favor of local-language films from a prolific film production industry.

Until now, Disney, which owns the market-leading film and TV group UTV, had been content to leave the UTV brand and its low-budget Spotboy label to their own devices.

But since the integration of Disney and UTV in India last year, the studios' team has been looking for the right stories to develop into the first set of Disney branded local productions, said Siddharth Roy Kapur, managing director of studios for Disney UTV. "We are confident we have a slate of movies that capture the essence of the Disney brand - heartwarming, uplifting and fun for the whole family," he said.

UTV has also taken on the Indian release of selected Disney movies under the UTV banner.

The trio of films - "PK," "Jagga Jasoos" and "ABCD 2" - are all being made under the wing of Disney-UTV.

Using the Disney label by itself in the territory poses the question of whether the Mouse House is slowly getting a bigger hold of India, or if it's India that is reshaping a Hollywood conglomerate.

All three of the new Disney titles can loosely be described as family films, and all are expected to be released in 201415. "PK," which is in production, marks the re-teaming of helmer Rajkumar Hirani with Bollywood star Aamir Khan, the director-actor team behind global hit "3 Idiots." "Jagga Jasoos," which begins shooting in November, reunites "Barfi!" director Anurag Basu with that film's star, Ranbir Kapoor, in a musical comedy about the zany adventures of a young detective. Bollywood leading lady Katrina Kaif is also onboard.

"ABCD 2" is a sequel to 3D dance film "Any Body Can Dance," and will again be directed by celebrated choreographer-director Remo D'Souza and feature terp star Prabhudheva.

A few years back, Disney experimented with producing and distributing local-language films in several countries around the world, reflecting the growing power of international markets in Asia and Latin America. But in most places it has retreated, leaving UTV and India as its sole non-Hollywood production base. …

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