Television

Balaji Telefilms takes co-production route for films; plans to enter distribution

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MUMBAI: Balaji Telefilms Ltd. is venturing into co-production deals as part of a strategy to de-risk its movie business.

The leading TV content company has tied up with White Feather Films, a company started by Sanjay Dutt and Sanjay Gupta, for producing Shoot Out at Lokhandwala at Rs 120 million which is expected to release by March-end or the first quarter of the next financial year.

Two other movies are planned which will be co-produced and released only in FY08. Balaji is in talks with several producers including Neeraj Vohra. "By co-producing, we will be limiting our risk. Besides, the partner will bring in its filmmaking expertise," says a source in the company.

Balaji is also planning to foray into film distribution. The company may take the territory of Mumbai for distributing Shoot Out at Lokhandwala.

"The movie with Gupta is estimated to cost Rs 120 million and will have a multi-star cast. We are part-financing this film. We have plans for two other co-produced movies but the budgets are yet to be finalised," the source says.

Balaji Telefilms produced two films in the last fiscal and raked in a revenue of Rs 104 million, incurring a minor loss. While Kya Kool Hai Hum was a success, the second film Koi Aap Sa didn't fare well in the box office.

The company is adopting a cautious approach and will not be releasing any movie this year. "We expect Shoot Out at Lokhandwala to happen only next year," says the source.
Balaji Telefilms saw a robust growth in FY06 with topline increasing 43 per cent to Rs 2.8 billion. Net profit rose 44 per cent to Rs 594 million on the back of a rate revision from Star and an increase in programming hours.

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