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India-focused OTT production Golden Karavan launched, two projects approved, 10 under way

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MUMBAI: Combining their backgrounds and respective strengths into a powerful new digital production company, entertainment executives from the United States and India have announced the launch of Golden Karavan.

Golden Karavan is a first-of-its-kind, Indian-focused OTT television production company. With two productions greenlit and 10 more in active development, the outfit intends to create a steady supply of compelling, high-quality content from the region, targeting OTT and digital services including Netflix India and Amazon India.

The new Mumbai-based entity -- set to create and finance a slate of original TV content over the next five years -- is the vision of Jeff Sagansky and Florence Sloan of Goldenpeak Productions; Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment; and Apoorva Bakshi, Pooja Kohli and Sanjay Bachani of FilmKaravan Originals.

Sagansky, former CBS Entertainment and Sony Pictures senior executive, is an active media investor having taken public companies including Videocon d2h, Global Eagle and overseeing the merger of Double Eagle and Williams Scotsman. Kaplan is founder of Kapital Entertainment, a successful TV production Hollywood company. FilmKaravan describes itself as India’s first digital distribution-led production house promoted and run by Cupertino and Bakshi, Kohli and Bachani.

By creating and packaging this content for exclusive license, Golden Karavan will provide a compelling answer to the emerging revolution in mobile and OTT/broadband delivery in India, servicing local language audiences with original programming.

“Given the access to broadband that is transforming the Indian media landscape, the timing is ideal to launch Golden Karavan, a studio that will provide provocative and high-end, Indian-themed content,” said Jeff Sagansky upon making the announcement.

In 2015, Sagansky and his finance partner Harry Sloan invested in and took public on the NASDAQ Videocon d2h, which will merge with DISH TV later in the year to become the largest distribution company in Asia.

Added Kaplan: “We recognise the opportunity to focus on the underserved Southeast Asian market with amazing storytellers and talent, both in front of and behind the camera, and we couldn't have stronger partners leading the creative than we do with Apoorva, Pooja and Sanjay.”

“Given our extensive knowledge and distribution experience of the Indian film business, Film Karavan wanted to use that expertise to expand into the TV sector,” said Bakshi. “We are hitting the ground running with two series projects greenlit and many others in development.”

Golden Karavan’s initial slate of OTT projects includes the following:

• The company has formed collaboration with renowned indie filmmaker Hansal Mehta to adapt Ashwin Sanghi’s best-selling book, “The Sialkot Saga.” Mehta’s most recent directorial venture, “Omerta,” garnered rave reviews when it recently premiered during the Toronto International Film Festival.

• Golden Karavan is also collaborating with award winning Canadian-Indian auteur Richie Mehta on a yet unnamed drama series. His latest, a Google-funded Ridley Scott initiative called “India in a Day,” was critically applauded worldwide.

Commented Florence Sloan: “One of the real powers behind Golden Karavan is the ability to creatively curate material with an eye to engage and entertain digital audiences in India. We are pleased with the running start we already have and look forward to bringing more exciting projects to fruition.”

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