Television

Amrita TV plans to enter feature film production

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MUMBAI: Amrita Enterprises Pvt Ltd (AEPL), the promoters of Malayalam channel Amrita TV, is planning to set up a separate division for feature film production. Though the business plan is still in its primary stages of evolution, the company is targeting a February 2007 launch of the initiative.

"We are getting into Malayalam feature film production and the plan is to start the operations within the next six months. We are in the process of working out a business plan," Amrita TV director and CEO Sudhakar Jayaram told Indiantelevision.com.

At a time when the number of films produced in Malayalam has gone alarmingly down and consecutively the acquisition rates have shot up, Amrita TV attempts to change the picture in association with industry experts. The plan is to leverage on its in-house film expertise and thus put an end to the scarcity of films available in the acquisition market.

"The plan is to enter into partnership with key stake holders in the market such as producers and distributors and offer our expertise in this field to launch feature film projects. We will be also launching solo projects as well, making us an independent producer. An important objective of the initiative is to solve the supply demand issue, which is threatening the television business presently," says Jayaram.

AEPL's strategy, according to Jayaram, is to leverage on the creative and infrastructure strengths it already has in the area of film production. He feels that these key assets would attract similar minded players and thus provide a good start to the initiative.

"We have a nationally well acclaimed film director in our programming head Shyamaprasad. Then there are various other talented filmmakers, who are part of our programming wing. We have a state-of-the-art production infrastructure and we expect that all these elements would come together to give shape to this initiative," he says.

When queried on the investments planned, Jayaram says it is too premature to talk about the money part. "It will actually vary from project to project. We will be looking at big, medium and small budget projects. We are yet to finalise details of the initial investment to be made," says Jayaram.

Amrita TV draws inspiration from its successful telefilm production experience. In 2005, the channel produced 22 telefilms of 90 minute duration each and all the films were well-acclaimed by the critics as well as the viewers, according to Jayaram.

However, getting into feature film production doesn't mean that the AEPL would shift its focus totally. "We will be producing almost the same number of telefilms this year as well. We have already lined up four telefilms for the upcoming Onam festival," informs Jayaram.

AEPL, promoted by a group of investors closely associated with Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, launched Amrita TV in 2005 April. The channel is presently making its best efforts to emerge as a tough competitor to market leaders Asianet and Surya TV. In its first year of inception, the channel swept the Kerala State TV awards, winning 15 of the top laurels.

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