Sahara India Pariwar’s latest move of putting in a $2 billion bid to buy Hollywood-based film production and distribution major Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Inc is part of its larger plans for film production and distribution, including setting up of a hi-tech Film City at Aamby Valley.
Speaking exclusively to exchange4media, Subrata Roy, Managing Worker & Chairman of Sahara India, informed that the group had chalked out mega plans in the film business that include developing a world-class Film City and distribution of films through satellite.
“Our upcoming Film City at Aamby Valley will be the first of its kind with hi-tech facilities for indoor and outdoor shooting, besides massive pre-production and post-production facilities,” Roy added.
Elaborating on the concept of Film City, Roy said, “For indoor shooting, the Film City will have four huge air-conditioned domes. One of the domes will be like a city, complete with roads, street lights, houses, etc., suitable for a specific city-location shoot. Likewise, one of the domes will depict a sea shore. The best part is that the skyline of the dome can be changed so that you can have the sea shores of Mumbai, New York or any other city you want. The dome with snow and changing skyline will provide an opportunity to film makers to shoot snowfall scenes of any Indian or foreign locale. Then there’s this dome complete with forests. We will also have a huge pond, similar to the one which was used for shooting the movie ‘Titanic’. We are already in the process of seeking details from global studios for setting up these domes.”
The studios at Film City, according to Roy, would have all pre- and post-production facilities. “The whole concept is such that a filmmaker enters the studio with an idea and comes out with a finished film. With the modern and hi-tech facilities at the Film City, filmmakers would be able to complete a film in just a month’s time. Moreover, Aamby Valley provides excellent living accommodation and superb climatic conditions ideal for outdoor shooting.
Speaking about Sahara’s plans for film distribution, Roy said that they would modernise film distribution by replacing the old system of physically sending film prints to movie halls with the new system under which film prints would be distributed through a satellite link to cinema screens across the country. In a related development, Sahara is setting up three-screen multiplexes across 217 townships planned by it, which in turn will be linked to its upcoming Film City.
Sahara Group, with its assets totaling over $13 billion, has diversified business interests that include financial services, real estate, infrastructure, print and television media, film productions, sports, healthcare, hospitality, and so on.
And if Sahara’s recent initiatives meant to revamp its operations in entertainment domain come through as planned, these may well change the face of film production and film distribution in the country.