Softly, softly the India strategy at Mipcom 2005?

CANNES: So what of the India story? Understated seems to sum it up.

The most active appear to have been Zee’s English language acquisition team who picked up a slew of properties for the three channels Zee Café, Zee Studio and Zee Trendz. Bharat Ranga , Zee Cinema, Zee Music business head, was more selective in his purchases picking up a much smaller package of foreign language films.

As for Sony Entertainment Television India, EVP and business head Tarun Katial has picked up a telenovela from RCTV International titled “My Three Sisters” and is actively looking at two more properties from Venevision International. And keeping his interest in the reality genre going, the buzz is that he may well take away another format from this trip to Cannes.

Did Star India pick up any material? Not that we know of. But given that it has a slate of stuff that it picked up earlier yet to go on air, that is not necessarily a surprising development. RCTV International for one has offered three titles from its library but no decisions have been made there.

Meanwhile, the 13-member strong production company “alliance” Sparks Network, of which India’s Optimystix is the first production house in Asia to join, is also hoping to manage a sale of one the 31 properties that it got to Mipcom. One Indian broadcaster has shown a keen interest in “Comedy Club”, a format developed by Spain’s Globomedia, Sparks Network president & CEO Nicola Soderlund told Indiantelevision.com. Incidentally, Sparks used the Mipcom platform to formally announce the addition of Optimystix to the network.

Bollywood getting hot in Hollywood

One area though that saw more action as it were was on the Bollywood front. Indian companies distributing Bollywood titles have welcomed Hollywood’s new interest in Indian cinema. Among the biggies Sony Pictures Entertainment has unveiled a new initiative to expand local language production in India. The studio is co-producing its first Indian film Saawariya (Beloved) with director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

UK-based Indian film distributor Suman Film’s head of acquisitions Vimal Gupta says the Sony co-production with Bhansali can only be good for the industry, a view echoed by WEG India Pictures international sales director Avinaash Jumani.

Suman Films, meanwhile, has sold its title Bollywood Top 10 in Russia. On the other hand WEG India Pictures has sold the feature film Because Its Fate in the UK, UAE, The Netherlands, Mauritius and Fiji.

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