Television

Former UTV COO joins Birla's Applause Entertainment

MUMBAI: Former UTV COO Manish Popat has joined the AV Birla promoted Applause Entertainment as senior vice president from 6 October 2003.

Popat will handle all the television initiatives for the company, including the production, marketing and related functions in the international as well as domestic arena. Popat quit production major UTV on 15 July. At the time, UTV promoter Ronnie Screwvala had said that Popat had 'been asked to go.' Thus far, no replacement has been made for Popat at UTV, but the different operation heads (production head, business development manager, and five creative directors),have been working independently.

Applause Entertainment, the vehicle for the AV Birla group's media and entertainment investments, led by CEO Anshuman Swami, has a slew of projects ranging from film production, television to events up its sleeve. Its latest foray into film production will be through Stamp Collectors, an English co-production with a US film distribution company Miracle Entertainment. Work on this project is slated to begin from September, media reports say. 

In the television arena that Popat will look after, Applause is already doing television software like Bollywood Tonight on Zee Cinema and plans to tap the educational programming genre too. Reports say the southern market would be important for the company in television software business too. There are 38 programmes in the pipeline for Applause which will be marketed to various channels, reports say. Applause also presented the Zee IFFA awards earlier this year.

Among the feature films that Applause is doing currently is a Telugu film, Thapana, to be directed by Dhanraj and features Prabhudeva as one of the leads. In the coming one year, Applause plans to produce two or three Hindi films as well.

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