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UTV studio model ropes in top Bollywood names


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Production house UTV's plans for a Western studio model of feature film production are about to kick off in right earnest with some top Bollywood names.

In keeping with the proposed objective, UTV's first three productions go on shoot across the country in September. More productions go on the floor later this year.

The first of its productions is "Main, Meri Patni Aur Who", being directed by Chandan Arora, whose work was appreciated in "Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon".

To be co-produced by UTV with STAR, the movie currently being shot in Lucknow introduces model Neetu Chandra with Rajpal Yadav and Kay Kay Menon.

Says Arora: "'Main, Meri...' is a simple and humorous script, which every man can identify with at some level! With one broadcasting and one content major behind it, I am confident of my product getting the right thrust and projection."

Second in line is "Blue Umbrella", an adaptation of a Ruskin Bond novel, to be directed by Vishal Bhardwaj whose work in "Makdee" and "Maqbool" was immensely celebrated across national frontiers.

Featuring Pankaj Kapoor, this prized project, being shot in Dalhousie, is poised to be a favourite on the international festival circuit as well.

Says Bhardwaj about the project: "It is a compassionate and humanistic narration of everything in life that is beautiful and worth fighting for..."

The third production being shot in Mumbai is in association with Ram Gopal Varma. A prequel to his previous hit, "Company", "D" is being directed by newcomer Vishram Sawant, and stars newcomer Randeep Hooda.

Remarks Varma: "My reason for teaming up with UTV is because of my immense belief in their marketing sensibilities and aggressiveness in promoting innovative cinema."

UMP, the Motion Picture Division of UTV, is in the scripting and casting stage for three top line directors - David Dhawan, Prakash Jha and Aatish Kapadia. Discussions are on with Milan Luthria, Somnath Sen, Priyadarsan, Samir Karnik and Ken Ghosh among others.

UMP's Distribution Model also kicks in with UTV's own co-production of Ashutosh Gowarikar's "Swades" starring Shah Rukh Khan and Gayatri Joshi; Mahesh Dattani's "Morning Raga" starring Shabana Azmi and Perizaad Zorabian; and Mahesh Manjrekar's "Virudh" starring Amitabh Bachchan, Sharmila Tagore and John Abraham.


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