UTV and Fox Partner on Mira Nair's Namesake
UTV & Fox Partner on Mira Nair’s Namesake In yet another pioneering deal, UTV Motion Pictures has partnered with Fox Searchlight on Mira Nair’s ‘The Namesake’. This marks the beginning of Hollywood Studios partnering with Indian Studios on motion picture production.
The film is based on the best-selling novel of the name by Pulitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri, and has been adapted for the screen by acclaimed screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala (‘Salaam Bombay’).
“This film is truly an International Co-production, and the first of its kind out of India. It’s an English Language Hollywood Mainstream Film and while most independently produced movies get completed and then look for distributors, in Namesake Fox is a co-producer And the worldwide distributor.” says Ronnie Screwvala, CEO, UTV.
“Associating with Mira Nair is the right blend for UTV’s International Co-production plans, the right blend of ethnicity with a global contrast”, he adds
Says Mira Nair, “Ronnie Screwvala had passion for this project since its inception, and I am thrilled and fortunate to be partnering with him and UTV towards making a beautiful film. I believe that Indian talent, no matter how international in scope, must be nourished on home ground. The Namesake is Jhumpa Lahiri's exquisitely moving tale detailing lives transported from Kolkatta to New York. It encompasses, in a deep humane way, the tale of millions of us who have left one home for another, who have known what it is to combine the old ways with the new world, who have left the shadow of our parents to find ourselves.”
Said President of Fox Searchlight Pictures, Peter Rice: “We are honored to join forces with such venerable partners as UTV in this unique project. Few filmmakers can so vividly convey the heart of a story in the way that Mira Nair can. We look forward to seeing what her lens will show us next.”
This film, with a budget of $ 9.6 million, co-produced by Fox Searchlight, Entertainment Farm (of Japan) and UTV goes on the floor early March ’05. Fox will also distribute the film worldwide and UTV will distribute it in India.
The film boasts a stellar cast consisting of noted Indian-American actor Kal Penn (‘Harold &Kumar Go to White Castle’, ‘Superman’) as Gogol. Also starring are Zuleikha Robinson (‘Merchant of Venice’ and ‘Hidalgo’) as Moushumi, Tabu playing the character of Ashima Ganguli, Gogol’s mother, one of the central characters of the story, and Irrfan Khan (‘Maqbool') as Ashoke Ganguli. Shooting is scheduled to begin in New York at the end of March and will relocate to Kolkata by mid-May.
About UTV Motion Pictures:
Established in 1995, as a division within UTV, UTV Motion Pictures has contributed to the Studio model in India. It brings a corporatized system of work to the movie business and uses it to develop strong storylines, control time and cost budgets while performing highly effective marketing and promotion activities. UTV has in the past co-produced movies such as ‘Fiza’, ‘Chalte Chalte’, ‘Lakshya’ and more recently ‘Swades’. Three more productions are on the floor, “Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh’, ‘Blue Umbrella’, an adaptation of a Ruskin Bond movie and ‘D’, in association with Ram Gopal Varma.
To ensure better distribution of films and a more transparent reporting of box office revenues, UTV has established its own distribution network across markets such as India, US, UK, Dubai, South Africa, Fiji and Japan. UTV has till date distributed over 16 films, key amongst them being ‘Sarfarosh’, ‘Mission Kashmir’ and ‘Lagaan’.
Incorporated in 1990, UTV has today emerged as one of India’s leading and most respected integrated media and entertainment companies. From a Television Production house, it has grown into a media conglomerate with interests in Television Content and air-time sales, Movie Production and Distribution, and Broadcasting through their group company United Home Entertainment which recently launched Hungama TV. In fact, in the last 14 years UTV has established its credentials across Asia as an industry standard setter, innovator and pioneer for its cutting edge creativity, executional finesse and professional approach to the business.