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Balaji Telefilms plans to invest Rs 350 million for movie business

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MUMBAI: Balaji Telefilms plans to scale up its movie business in the next fiscal. The leading TV content company intends to invest Rs 350 million, sources say, and is tieing up with various production houses for this.

Balaji is partnering with Popcorn Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, a company owned by Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty, for three movies. Raaste, having stars like Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham, will be released in the next fiscal."The revenues from our movie projects will get reflected in the next financial year. We will have the releases in various stages of the year," says the source.

Balaji has also joined hands with White Feather Films, a company started by Sanjay Dutt and Sanjay Gupta, for three films - Shootout at Lokhandwala directed by Apoorva Lakhia, Woodstock Villa directed by Hansal Mehta and Dus Kahaniyan. Shoot Out at Lokhandwala, estimated to cost Rs 120 million, is expected to release by the first quarter of the next financial year.

As part of a strategy, Balaji Telefilms is venturing into co-production deals to de-risk its movie business. Besides, the production house feels that the partner will bring in its filmmaking expertise.

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.

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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