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Lionsgate enters Indian market, to co-produce ‘Warrior’ in Hindi with Endemol

MUMBAI: US film and television company Lionsgate is entering the Indian market. The sports drama film ‘Warrior’ will be co-produced in Hindi for the Indian subcontinent with television format creator, distributor Endemol India, operating under the banner ‘Eyedentity Motion Pictures’.

‘Warrior’, inspired by Lionsgate’s critically-acclaimed 2011 North American release of the same name, will be the first film jointly produced by the two companies in India.

Lionsgate President of Worldwide Television and Digital Distribution Jim Packer said, “Lionsgate is committed to identifying opportunities to produce and deliver motion pictures, television programming and other premium content to one of the largest and fastest-growing markets in the world.”

Production for the movie will start in December. Lionsgate COO of international distribution Andrew Kramer said, “Warrior is the kind of locally-produced property based on timeless themes that we expect to resonate with mainstream commercial audiences in India, and our partnership with Endemol’s Eyedentity Motion Pictures will bring valuable local expertise to our venture.”

While this is the first initiative between the two companies, more joint projects will follow. “This will be a busy relationship. Their catalogue has titles across television and films that would fit well in India. As for the first film venture, we will start production in December. Action-filled and emotionally powerful with themes of forgiveness and the enduring bonds of family, ‘Warrior’ will be a quality film made with top-of-the-line production values that we believe will strike a responsive chord with Indian audiences,” said Endemol India CEO Deepak Dhar.

The partnership was negotiated by Lionsgate’s agents in India, Morris St. Advisors’ Rohit Tiwari.

Inspired by the American film of the same name, ‘Warrior’ tells the story of two estranged brothers and deals with their struggling relationship with each other and their father. The film will be adapted for Indian audiences and re-written for Indian tastes. Its focus on contact sport will be integral to the storyline and will position ‘Warrior’ as one of the few sports dramas made in India.

The Indian film will also have mixed martial arts like the Hollywood film, said Dhar. “We want to keep the nuances that made the film work intact.”

Endemol also plans to take Indian formats abroad in October for the television trade event Mipcom. “Earlier there were cultural issues in terms of Indian shows and formats going abroad. Now our content that airs on the weekends is more generic. It has widespread appeal that we will look to capitalise upon,” said Dhar.