SPE inks first Indian co-production deal with Bhansali

MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is making an entry into Hindi films. The company today announced that it had inked a deal with noted film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali (of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas and Black fame) to co- produce Saawariya (Beloved).

"India has a rich and a prolific film history and we at Sony Pictures recognise the potential and importance of the Indian market and welcome the opportunity to team up with the film industry in India. This is a defining moment for us as a company and for filmmakers, artists and audiences in India as well," said SPE chairman and CEO Michael Lynton.

"Sanjay Leela Bhansali's body of work has been in a class of its own. From his very first endeavour, Khamoshi, through Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam to Devdas, and his most recent critically acclaimed film, Black, his films have epitomised sensitivity and embodied visual splendour. We are indeed proud to associate with one of India's most revered directors," said SPE vice chairman and Sony Motion Picture Group chairman Amy Pascal.

"It marks the dawn of a new and exciting chapter in the life of Sony Pictures Releasing India as it presents a wonderful opportunity to extend our horizons beyond motion picture distribution and interact with the enormous creativity that the Indian film industry has to offer," said Sony Pictures Releasing of India Ltd general manager Uday Singh.

With Devdas, Bhansali set industry benchmarks by winning several awards at home, the most prominent being India's official entry to the Oscars. International recognition for Bhansali came when Devdas won the 'Asian Film Award' at the MTV Asia Award, received a nomination in the 'Best Film not in the English Language' category at the BAFTA, and was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

The greenlighting of a Hindi film by a major Hollywood studio is a landmark for the Indian motion picture business. This co-production encourages the integration of Hollywood and Bollywood.

As the market for Indian cinema continues to grow internationally, SPE's vast global network will allow Indian film producers to showcase their work outside the home market and acquire greater exposure for their films.


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