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India's Applause Entertainment Reveals Robust Movie Slate

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Prolific Indian studio Applause Entertainment is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a thriving streaming slate, multiple films, an ambitious expansion model and doubling of investment.

The company is led by CEO Sameer Nair, an Indian television pioneer who previously worked at Star TV, NDTV Imagine, Turner General Entertainment and Balaji Telefilms.

On the film front, Applause’s Hindi film ‘The Rapist’, directed by Aparna Sen, won the prestigious Kim Ji-seok Award in 2021 in Busan. Next up is a film by actor and director Nandita Das. His last film, ‘The Cloak’ was shown in Cannes. The film, which is tentatively titled ‘Zwigato’, is a social satire about India’s food delivery gig economy and is currently being posted. Starring popular TV hosts Kapil Sharma and Shahana Goswami (“The Proper Boy”).

Tahira Kashyap Khurrana’s debut feature film in Hindi, Sharmajee Ki Beti, features Sakshi Tanwar (“Dangal”), Divya Dutta (“Hostage”) and Saiyami Kher (“Choking”). “It’s a really heartwarming slice of life,” said Nair variety.

Actor and director Saurab Shukla directs the Hindi version of ‘Jab Kri Kitab’ based on his play, starring Pankaj Kapoor (‘Toba Tek Singh’) and Dimple Kapadia (‘Tenet’). “This is what he calls an ‘adult teenage romance’ and it follows a 70-year-old pair and this is their love story.

Kapadia also appears in the Hindi version of the short story ‘Salaam Noni Apa’ from the book ‘The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad’ written by actor-turned-writer and columnist Twinkle Khanna. Following an unlikely romance between an elderly widowed Muslim woman and a Hindu yoga teacher, it’s the directorial debut of advertising filmmaker Sonal Dabral.

Also posted is Por Thozhil, a Tamil film in the Thriller Serial Killer genre by debut Vighnesh Raja, starring R. Sarathkumar (Vaanam Kottattum) and Ashok Selvan (Hostel). The finishing touch is the debut Sirsha Guha Thakrta, starring Vidya Balan (“Jartha”), Sendhil Ramamurthy (“Never Have I Ever”), Ileana D’Cruz (“Raid”) and Pratik Gandhi (“Scum”). An untitled romantic comedy in Hindi by 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story”).

Applause is a major source of content for Indian streamers, including Disney+ Hotstar’s ‘Rudra’, SonyLIV’s ‘Scam 1992’, Amazon Prime Video’s ‘Mind the Malhotras’, Netflix’s ‘Hasmukh’ and ZEE5’s ‘Bloody Brothers’. one of the best suppliers. Many of today’s film slates are streamer bound.

“As a studio, our goal is to be either a big theatrical event film or a bigger noteworthy action drama, but we’re not turning our backs on The Rapist,” says Nair. “From a streamer’s perspective, it makes their offering stand out more and adds more variety. And these direct streaming companies are much more cost-effective in that sense, because Because they’re made on that kind of budget.They’re not $20-30 million productions.

For the upcoming film, a film co-production and co-financing deal has been signed with Sony India, and discussions are underway with a studio in Hyderabad, home to the huge Telugu film industry. The new slate, which will begin production from January to February 2023, is aimed at the theatrical market, Nair said.

A division of the $45 billion Aditya Birla Group conglomerate, Applause was founded on August 16, 2017 with approximately $50 million in funding. Nair said Applause’s business model operates on efficient cash flow management, so the capital hasn’t been used up yet. Applause works on a model where you identify properties, generate them with your own coin, and sell them to streamers.

“What happened is that the way we’ve been working and the way it’s been going, Birla is very happy with how things turned out,” Nair said. increase. “He’s a patron of the arts, but he’s also a businessman. Our current desire is to grow this business over the next 10 years to 5x or 10x where he is now and see how we can scale this model. “

Applause is now eyeing larger budget series and films, expanding into previously untapped areas such as animation, documentaries and AVOD. “Going forward, we are clearly looking to double our investment, and that will happen,” he said.

Applause, on the other hand, stands by its core strengths, producing high-end series. The company now has a history of 37 series, including subsequent seasons, ranging from originals to book adaptations to localized versions of BBC shows.・Ashrekar’s show is coming. varietyan adaptation of “Fauda” “Tanaav.” Based on “Gandhi: The Year That Changed the World” and Hansal Mehta (“Fraud 1992”).

“Gandhi is the name we imagine it to be, it’s like a show, it’s a series that can be watched all over the world. You can tell it in such an epic narrative way that you can reach out to your audience.