Ficci entertainment division head Siddhartha Dasgupta quits

MUMBAI: At a time when the Indian entertainment industry is booming, the revolving door is not restricted to just media companies. It has started spinning at apex chambers of commerce too.

Take, for example, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) that had taken a lead to propel the entertainment and media sector in the forefront in the country. Its joint director and head of entertainment division, Siddhartha Dasgupta, has left to join a digital movie distribution company, UFO Moviez, the digital cinema network launched by Valuable Media Pvt Ltd late 2005.

Sources in Ficci confirmed that Dasgupta has quit, but refrained from handing out other details like a likely replacement for him. At the moment, a high-level delegation of the apex chamber of commerce, including its secretary-general, Dr Amit Mitra, is on a business tour of China where rampant video and audio piracy has rattled some of the visiting businesspersons.

Apart from Dasgupta, two other senior functionaries of Ficci in recent times left to join the Reliance group, promoted by Mukesh Ambani. A possible casualty in the animation division of Ficci has been averted, according to the sources.

Meanwhile, UFO Moviez aims to be at the forefront of the convergence of entertainment and technology. Its goal: create the world's largest integrated digital cinema network capable of digitally delivering and exhibiting motion pictures and alternative content. Dasgupta's experience at Ficci would help the top management of the company.

UFO Moviez is aiming to set up 500 digital movie halls by middle of 2006 at an investment of Rs 800 million and then scale it up progressively to 2,000 cinema halls across the country at a total investment of Rs 3 billion.

UFO Moviez is the digital cinema network launched by Valuable Media Pvt LTD, where the lead investor is the Delhi-headquartered Apollo International Ltd.

At the launch of the network, Apollo group's head OS Kanwar had said, "Earlier businesses were driving technological applications, now technological applications are driving business models. UFO Moviez digital cinema is a prime example of how Indian technology whiz kids have adopted technology to deliver the best of content even to the remotest Indian towns."

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