Pyramid Saimira launches mega Kannada film Omm

BANGALORE: Pyramid Saimira Productions International Ltd (PSPIL) has announced the launch of a mega Kannada film project titled Omm, starring all the three sons of the late Kannada film icon Raj Kumar.

The movie will be directed by Ravi Srivatsava.

The three brothers – Siva Raj Kumar, Raghvendra Raj Kumar and Puneeth Raj Kumar - are well known, popular Kannada film actors and will be acting in a film together for the first time.

Industry sources peg the film‘s budget at Rs 100 million plus, which is a big figure for the Kannada film industry where films with budgets of Rs 50-60 million are considered as big budget films. While PSPIL officials refused to indicate the exact budget for Omm they did confirm that the budget was more than Rs 100 million.

Pyramid Saimira entered Karnataka about a year and a half ago and has so far converted about 45 screens to digital of around 225 screens that it has digitalized across India. The group operates 123 theaters in Karnataka.

On the group‘s Karnataka foray, PSPIL MD Saminathan announced that Avva, a Kannada film project under the PSPIL banner was complete. The film has been directed by Kavitha Lankesh and stars a popular Kannada actor Vijay.

Vijay will also feature in another PSPIL Kannada action film Putta to be directed by Om Prakash, a veteran who has directed more than 25 films.

PSPIL also announced that it has signed on another Kannada film actor Darshan for a two film deal to be released in January 2009 and January 2010. On the immediate Karnataka horizon is the distribution of six Kannada films. It has also acquired distribution rights for Naa Tata Naa Birla, Ganesha Mathe Banda, Minchina Ota, Naanu Neenu Jodi, etc just to name a few.

Saminathan also informed that the group plans to release one Kannada movie every two months. Pyramid Saimira will be investing Rs 7 billion to produce 37 films in India during the next one year.

Saminathan said that by March end 0f 2008 the group would have 1000 screens and hence would have the largest number of screens in Asia. At present, with 703 screens in the world, the Pyramid group is the third largest player globally in terms of number of screens. Pyramid has tie-ups in five countries.

Saminathan also said that the Pyramid group was interested in short fiction film projects – the story must be told completely in ten minutes. An announcement on this initiative would be made shortly informed Saminathan.

Further, while speaking with, Saminathan informed that the profits for the third quarter of this financial year (2007-08) would exceed Rs 160 million. There has also been an increase in the occupancy which was lingering in the 40-50 per cent range, but Saminathan could not give the exact figures.

Pyramid Samira Theaters Limited has also temporarily shelved the Card Scheme that had been approved by its board in April 2007, because of apprehension by the industry. The demand for the card scheme was so tremendous that the first lot of 50,000 cards was sold out in one and a half hours in the few theaters it was launched. While refusing to disclose details, Saminathan conformed that his company is close to closing a deal for acquiring a TV company in the US. The deal/company is reportedly valued at $100 million.

The group has also roped in Bollywood director Raj Kumar Santoshi for a new Hindi film project/s to be announced shortly. Santoshi‘s Hindi film Halla Bol for PSIPL starring Ajay Devgan and Vidya Balan is slated for release. As announced earlier, Santoshi, who was also present at the Omm press conference in Bangalore has signed on a two film contract with the PVR group some time ago.

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