Sahara One Motion Pictures to foray into music, home videos

NEW DELHI / MUMBAI: Sahara One Motion Pictures is planning to start its own music and home video labels as a natural extension to Sahara's ambitious movie production business where it plans to invest Rs 3 billion.

"We plan to have our own music and home video labels as we see it's a natural extension to the type of business that we do," Sahara India Entertainment Management's Motion Pictures division chief operating officer Sandeep Bhargava tells

According to him, the music label, which is likely to carry the Sahara One brand name, will get formalized towards the end of the year. "Considering that in a year we make so many films, it suits our business model to have our own record

label," Bhargava adds.

Sahara, independently, and along with partners like K Sera Sera and Ram Gopal Verma's company, plans 40 movie productions (average cost ranges between Rs 20 million to Rs 90 million) of which around 22 are currently in various stages of production. That is why it feels the time has come to spread into the value chain of distributing its own audio and home video labels.

Movie production houses like Mukta Arts are now finding value in distributing their music labels. The acquisition price for music rights has fallen sharply with music companies reluctant to take risks in a highly volatile market.

In the coming months, Sahara One Motion Pictures line-up of releases include BSK's (Boney Kapoor's company) No Entry, K Sera Sera's My Wife's Murder, the critically acclaimed Yahaan, Pyar Main Twist, animation film Hanuman, Home Delivery and MalaaMaal Weekly.

As part of the restructuring plan to expand the movie business as well as de-risk it, from now on all co-productions would have one person from Sahara overseeing each movie as an executive producer.

"We do vet scripts in the initial stage, but sometimes it just happens that the end product doesn't turn out as envisaged in the beginning. Keeping that in mind, we would now be involved in every step of the film's making," Bhargava explains.

Bhargava points out that keeping in mind the distribution revenue stream, Sahara One Motion Pictures is not only setting up a full-fledged distribution team (for both domestic and international markets), but is also not selling home video rights of its movies to others to exploit if fully when its own label is in place.

The restructuring that Sahara One Motion Pictures is witnessing will also translate into putting in place a strong distribution team for the international market where rights are hawked not only for theatrical releases, but also for satellite and terrestrial TV, broadband, home video and other modes of content delivery.

"In the CIS countries, South East Asia (Malaysia, for example), Middle East, the UK and US, there is a huge demand for Hindi films and we feel that international markets could contribute as much as 40-50 per cent revenue to the overall kitty," Bhargava says.

However, Sahara is not going overboard with selling film rights in the international and the domestic market. In a wait-and-watch game, the films division is keeping the home video, broadband and mobile phone rights with itself to see how the markets for these modes of delivery shape up.

"These are early days for broadband and other technologies. So we are not selling the rights for these segments yet," Bhargava says, adding that Sahara One and the proposed Filmy channel would always reserve the right of first refusal for any film produced or co-produced by Sahara One Motion

Pictures that is also producing some Bengali films.

Meanwhile, Bhargava says that the Filmy channel is scheduled for a festival time launch around September. Sahara One Motion Pictures, which claims to be India's biggest film studio,

deals with not just established film production houses, but also with low profile, but creative film makers. It provides them with the best and professional and hassle-free production, marketing and distribution support.

In a short span of eight months, Sahara One Motion Pictures has released 12 films and won as many as five National Awards.

Sahara-One Motion Pictures is managed by the Sahara India Entertainment Management Company Limited (SIEMCL) where at the helm are MD Shailendra Singh, CEO Shantonu Aditya and COO (films division) Bhargava.

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