When mega star Amitabh Bachchan relaunched ABCL as AB Corp last year, the question ringing in most minds was, will he succeed this time 'round? After all, ABCL - Big B's first corporate venture - was a financial disaster that left the actor reeling under heavy debt.
Over time, however, the actor did manage to pay up his dues, and having brought the company back on track, the point is, what next?
Ramesh Pulapaka, CEO, AB Corp, asserts that the company will devote its attention on making movies, and will venture into allied areas of entertainment in another two-three years. "We would like to tread cautiously and focus our energies on making movies. Once we build a track record, only then will we move into the next level."
Likely areas of expansion for the company include television production. Could this then mean that Kaun Banega Crorepati, the huge money-spinner for STAR Plus, makes a comeback with Bachchan as the star anchor and AB Corp as one of the producers? Or, will there be a tie-up between AB Corp and Sahara TV for the television space in the coming months, considering Bachchan's personal friendship with Subrata Roy of Sahara.
Pulapaka maintains that AB Corp is open for play to all channels. "We will design content for every channel, and these will be any and all in the television space. The ultimate aim is to emerge as a complete entertainment entity. That is the vision we have in mind," he says.
In the area of movie productions, the company intends doing four films a year, and these will be primarily co-produced with parties interested in the particular venture. "It is not as if we do not want to commission projects wholly produced by us, but right now we are concentrating on co-productions to bring in greater synergies."
On the floor, is the company's bilingual production Virrudh, which commenced shooting on July 16. Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Sharmila Tagore and John Abraham, the writer-director of the film is Mahesh Manjrekar. Incidentally, Manjrekar's Satyajit Movies is co-producing the flick.
The total investment on Virrudh (the English version is called Versus) comes up to Rs 15-crore, and the movie, says Pulapaka, will be completed by February-March next year. It will be released by April-May '05.
Ranveer, on the other hand, which was the first film project to be announced at the time of the company's relaunch last year, will take a while to hit the floor, says Pulapaka. "The script has seen some changes, which has led to the delay," he says.
The movie will be directed by Rajkumar Santoshi and co-produced by Keshu Ramsey, who had produced the blockbuster Khakhee. The movie will see the father-son duo of Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan coming together for the first time on silver screen.
Pulapaka says that the choice of movie subjects will be determined on the basis of entertainment value and commercial viability. "The individual merit of the script will also count, so that we don't miss out on a good opportunity." © 2004 agencyfaqs!