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Star India acquires four films including 'Rang De..' from UTV for Rs 160 million

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MUMBAI: Star India has acquired the telecast rights to the Aamir Khan starrer Rang De Basanti from UTV. The block buster film has been bought over along with three other UTV productions as a package for around Rs 160 million, according to market sources.

The other three movies Star has acquired are Chup Chup Ke, The Blue Umbrella and an un-titled David Dhawan project.

Confirming the acquisition to indiantelevision.com, Star Entertainment India CEO Sameer Nair said Star channels would premiere Rang De Basanti in the last quarter of the calendar year. "We have acquired four movies, including Rang De Basanti, from UTV through a package deal. We will telecast Rang De Basanti some time around October 2006," says Nair. However, Nair refused to confirm the acquisition price.

Rang De Basanti has been the biggest grosser for UTV Motion Pictures this year. The movie, starring the ensemble cast of Aamir Khan, Madhavan, Soha Ali Khan, Kunal Kapoor, Siddharth, Sharman Joshi and Alice Patten, is directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.

Scheduled for a 9 June release, Chup Chup Ke will see popular director Priyadarshan delivering yet another South remake. The film is the Hindi version of the Malayalam blockbuster laugh riot Punjabi House. Chup Chup Ke stars Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Neha Dhupia, Paresh Rawal, Rajpal Yadav and Om Puri.

The Blue Umbrella, directed by Vishal Bharadwaj has Pankaj Kapur donning the title role. Released in December 2005, this low-budget movie had won a lot of critical acclaim. The fourth movie in question is a David Dhawan venture which is about to go on floor.

The new UTV collection beefs up Star India's blockbuster bank. The network has already acquired titles such as Krrish, Taxi No.9211 and Bluffmaster. Some of the other movies Star has acquired this year include Apaharan, Ankahee, Shikhar, Family and Aksar.

While Star India has pocketed a significant number of big movies to telecast this year, competitiors Zee Cinema and Max are gearing up for some tough fight. Zee Cinema has re-branded its driver property Shaniwaar Ki Raat Amitabh Ke Saath and recently telecast the big movie Garam Masala. Other key telecast rights the channel holds include Umrao Jaan, Pyare Mohan and Home Delivery, according to sources.

On the other hand, Max is banking on some of the 2005 blockbusters such as Salaam Namaste, Kalyug and Zeher. It is expected that Yash Raj Films' latest release Fanaa and the upcoming biggy Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna will also go to Max.

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