Disney India puts 4 features in motion

Fri Oct 3, 2008 11:43pm EDT

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NEW DELHI (Hollywood Reporter) - In another sign of Hollywood's growing interest in the Indian film industry, the Walt Disney Company India is planning a quartet of live-action features under its local banner, Walt Disney Pictures India.

"We have finalized two projects to start with," a WDCI spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday. Budget details were not provided.

The first project is "The 19th Step," which revolves around the ancient Indian martial arts form Kalarippayattu. The film, planned as a multilingual Indian release, stars leading South Indian actor Kamal Hassan. Japanese star Asano Tadanabo and Indian actress Asin also are in the cast. Bharat Bala, one of India's best-known music video directors, will be at the helm.

The second film, "Zokkomon," is a children's tale starring child actor Darsheel Safari, who won acclaim in 2007 for the hit "Taare Zameen Par" (Stars On Earth), which tackled the theme of dyslexia. Satyajit Bhatkal is directing "Zokkomon."

The two other Walt Disney Pictures India features are in the development process.

Disney made its first foray into local production last year with an exclusive three-picture deal to co-produce animation titles with veteran Mumbai-based banner Yash Raj Films. The first release, "Roadside Romeo" -- voiced by top Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan and actress Kareena Kapoor -- opens October 24.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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