Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Apr 06, 2004
Industry & Economy - Cinema
Big take: Hindi films for Pakistan
Mumbai , April 5
YASH Chopra's latest project, `Hum Tum' and Akbar Khan's `Taj Mahal', will be among the first Hindi films to officially make their way into Pakistani territory.
The signatory on the Pakistani side, in both the cases, is Lahore-based Evernew Entertainment.
``We have signed an MoU with Mr Yash Chopra for distributing his next film in Pakistan, covering both video and theatrical rights. We have also signed a similar MoU with Mr Akbar Khan for `Taj Mahal' and another for a joint venture film production with Karma Films, with its CEO, Mr Ashok Khemka.
``Basically, the spirit of the MoUs is to exchange information on various aspects of joint ventures,'' Mr Sajjad Gul, CEO, Evernew Entertainment said in response to Business Line's queries.
The process has to get permission from both the governments.
The MoUs mark the beginning of a new revenue stream for the Hindi film industry. At present, the entire distribution of Hindi films in Pakistan is through pirates, industry representatives said. They expect formal access to Pakistani territories to add substantial revenues to the Rs 4,500 crore-Indian film industry.
Mr Gul was among Pakistani delegates at the recent Frames 2004 conference in Mumbai.
Hum Tum has Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukherjee as lead actors while Taj Mahal stars Kabir Bedi, Manisha Koirala, Pooja Batra, Arbaaz Ali and Kim Sharma.
``The Indian industry is ready. It is now up to the Pakistani industry to act,'' said Mr Sanjay Bhattacharji, an industry analyst.
He believes the Pakistani film industry has to take into consideration its own home production. ``The exhibition infrastructure there needs upgradation the way it has been happening in India.''
According to Mr Ram Mirchandani, General Manager-Motion Pictures, UTV, the territories of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad could bring as much as 40 per cent of the current pirated market in Pakistan to the Indian film industry. UTV has an interest in overseas distribution business.
Evernew had earlier announced a joint venture film production with Karma Films.
`Hum Tum' is slated for release towards the end of May. The film is directed by Kunal Kohli and produced by Aditya Chopra, son of Yash Chopra.
The music of the film is due to be released this week. The film is about cartoon characters - Hum and Tum - with the cartoonist being portrayed by Saif Ali Khan.
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