Sun TV to float Sun Pictures for film production

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Sun TV Network, India’s largest media network in terms of market capitalisation, is gearing up to enter film production. It plans to produce at least 10 feature films each in three languages – Tamil, Telugu and Kannada annually through Sun Pictures, a soon-to-be-floated unit.

Sun TV is also preparing to launch its ‘home entertainment division’, to launch DVDs of the collection of regional films in its library. It also plans to tap the growing online movie download market across the globe, currently dominated by illegal initiatives.

On the film front, Sun’s initial focus will be on the Tamil cinema, before it moves to neighbouring markets, film industry sources told this paper here on Monday. The company’s Chairman and Managing director, Kalanithi Maran, declined to comment on the subject.

According to the sources close to the development, Sun TV Network has signed up with all leading players, including stars, directors and music directors in the Tamil film industry. While company officials declined to name them citing the sensitivity involved, a formal announcement is expected by end-March or early April.

The entire funding for films will come from Sun TV Network, but every film will be produced on a “commissioned basis”, with a set of existing production houses being roped in as ‘executive producers’. For instance, the Tamil films will be handled by Radaan Mediaworks, promoted by actress Radika Saratkumar.

The first film to be produced by Sun TV Network is likely to hit theatres this Diwali. The move to directly get into film production is a natural extension for Sun, which has acquired almost 80 per cent of all the movies in the southern regional markets for well over a decade. “Sun spends close to Rs 100 crore each for Tamil and Telugu markets to acquire satellite rights of films every year.”

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