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ADAG to invest Rs 500 cr to produce 40 movies

By Surajeet Das Gupta in New Delhi
August 20, 2007 11:28 IST
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The Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group will invest Rs 400-500 crore (Rs 4 to 5 billion) to produce over 40 Bollywood films in two years.

ADAG's push in film production will be through a new subsidiary of Reliance Entertainment, named Big Motion Pictures Ltd.

ADAG has already tied up with film director Madhur Bhandarkar for three films and is negotiating with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The company will look at big budget and art house films.

As part of the revamp, BiG will concentrate on movie production, while Adlabs (which also produces movies, but will slowly move out of production) will concentrate on the exhibition business, processing of films and distribution of films. ADAG has a majority equity stake in Adlabs.

ADAG has hired more than 40 professionals and is building a 100-strong team for its film adventure. The first film under the BiG banner should be on the screens by the middle of next year.  A spokesperson of the group when contacted however declined to comment on the issue.

The Anil Ambani company will of course have to contend with strong competition from large corporate houses which are either established or are getting into the cinema production business.

They are Yash Raj Films (which made some half a dozen films this year), Ronnie Screwvala's UTV, TV-18's new cinema company venture, Percept Pictures and even Ajay Bijli's PVR Ltd (which has signed up Aamir Khan).

ADAG is working on a convergence of its telecom and entertainment business.

The group is setting up 500-700 DVD/VCD retail outlets across 50 cities on the lines of the US video rental distribution network, Blockbuster.

The 250-odd Reliance WebWorld outlets will also enable customers to choose VCDs and DVDs. WebWorlds currently offer internet, gaming, Reliance phone connections and bill-paying facilities.

That apart, ADAG is also entering the TV broadcasting business and plans are on the anvil to set up entertainment and film channels, and news channels a little later on.

On the distribution front, the group is expected to launch both its direct-to-home services by the beginning of next year, and broadband based IPTV for customers with broadband connectivity.

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Surajeet Das Gupta in New Delhi
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