In the year that has now passed into the annals of history, a development, which happened in a very subtle manner, was the gradual takeover of UTV films by the Walt Disney Films. UTV Films had emerged as the force to reckon with in the Indian cinema firmament and when Walt Disney has taken a majority stakes it would further amplify the quest for a new direction in the art of film making in the country, manifest from the niche that UTV films has carved out for itself, with the films like JODHAA AKBAR, WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR, MUMBAI MERI JAAN, A WEDNESDAY, AAMIR etc., i.e. the films which have stirred the consciousness of the average movie goer in one way or the other. Each film has explored a different genre and has given a new shape to the manner in which the social landscape of the country can be implemented.
It indeed was a fortuitous omen when Ronnie Screwwalla the CEO of UTV films was featured on the cover page of NewsWeek at the beginning of 2008 as emerging media baron from India. The acquisition of majority stake of UTV by Walt Disney is clear pointer to the fact. The deal for Walt Disney is sweetened by the fact that the stock market is not in its pink of its health, so for the sake of Walt Disney it is a winwin situation.
UTV however does not loose out in the bargain as it gets the technical competence and the advancements of technology for its production house in the bargain and it could leverage this position to carve out a definite niche in the emerging cartooning sector in the country.
2008 has been a watershed year for cartoon films made by the Indian film fraternity and the icing on the cake was dubbing of the Indonesian cartoon film JUMBO into Hindi, which has enamored the audience. The decision of Walt Disney to acquire the majority stake is guided by the understanding on its part that Asia is emerging as one of the key areas in the field of entertainment and there would not be any better place but India to carve out the niche. It is also manifest from ambitious plans of Walt Disney, which plans to produce 5 films during the next 18 months, of which one is an animation film, while other four would be action films.
Animation sector would never be the same again for the Indian animation industry, and Walt Disney would be the flagbearer of this trend, 2009 being the watershed year.