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June - July 2007

Business Forum

Film Producer from Bollywood invites investment for her forthcoming global projects

Sharmila Shankar

Bollywood films need large budgets, big stars and a set formula to make money.

These are three myths that Sharmila Sankar, a young film producer from Mumbai, set out to break at the India Link Business forum’s quarterly meeting on April 4th, 2007.

At the event, Ms Sankar presented her next feature film production ‘Roshni’ to investors who wish to participate in the success that has come from the merging of corporate culture and media in the Indian film industry. This, combined with the transparency of revenues from distribution in multiplexes makes for profitable investment.

Members listening with full attention

The film ‘Roshni’ which is to be filmed from October to November 2007, is a family drama set in Mumbai. Actors already associated with the project are Atul Kulkarni (‘Rang De Basanti’), Sonali Kulkarni (‘Taxi 9211’) and Baby Rucha Vaidya (‘Ajnabee’.)

Potential investors from the travel industry, IT and even the hotel industry attended the event and clarified their doubts on private investment into film production.

Responding to a question on the ‘Return on Investment’, Sharmila emphasised that films no longer depend on income from theatrical release to show profits. DVD sales, Satellite Broadcast Rights, the Internet and even In Picture Product Placement are more important and reliable sources of income for a feature film today.

There is also a growing market for films from India all over the world. Countries in South America and Africa love the family culture and music of Indian films and are new markets to cater to. Low budget, ‘Multiplex’ films with their urban settings and universal stories set in an Indian context are big favourites in European markets.

Sharmila Sankar is an alumnus of the ‘Film and TV Institute of India’ in Pune and has also studied in the famous Parisian school of film FEMIS. She has been working as an associate producer and production designer in Hong Kong, United States, Indonesia and Malaysia. Sharmila is currently GM Films of Tarantella Pictures, a film production company based in Kuala Lumpur. Her latest film ‘DIVA’ which she has executed is a Malay language musical shot in full Bollywood style with Malay actors and Indian film technicians.

The event concluded with cocktails and dinner. Potential investors pledged their investment into the film ‘Roshni’ and the film is to be produced with the support of India Link International.

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