Fox Star to distribute SRK film

The film has been made at a cost of R s 55 cr, garners a profit of Rs 45 cr

Khan is king: Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan and director Karan Johar pose at a news conference to announce a distribution deal with Fox Star Studios for their upcoming movie

SRK and Karan, co-producers of the film, announced their tie-up with Fox Star Studios at a press conference here on Thursday.“For us, this tie-up was important to find a partner who has a similar vision and capability to take Indian cinema to the international market,” Johar said.

Speculation is rife in Bollywood circles that the distribution rights of the film have been doled out for roughly $ 21 million (equivalent to Rs 100 crore), but the producers declined to disclose the amount.

Internal matter
When asked, all that Johar would mumble was “the financial terms of this deal is an internal matter between Red Chillies, Dharma Productions and Fox. In any case, the figure is nothing close to what is being reported everywhere.”

Yet, signifying the importance of the deal, he said: “This is the first time such a deal has been inked, where the film will release beyond the mainstream diaspora,”. The film is about a Muslim (SRK) who suffers from Asperger syndrome, a form of autism that impacts social interaction abilities. He is arrested as a suspected terrorist post 9/11 after the authorities mistake his disability for suspicious behaviour. Apart from SRK, the female lead is Kajol. She is teaming up with SRK after almost eight years. SRK described the venture as one of the most important films he had done till date, adding it was a “passion project”. The deal for MNIK envisages that Fox Star will market and distribute the film in India and Fox Searchlight Pictures — which marketed and distributed the Oscar winning “Slumdog Millionaire” in the United States — will release the film in the US. At the same time, 20th Century Fox International will distribute the film outside India and the US.

Shahrukh, is all set to take over the box office when MNIK is released in 2010. The film is believed to have been made at a cost of Rs 55 crore, and it garnered a profit of Rs 45 crore for the two entities of SRK and Johar — Red Chillies Entertainment and Dharma Productions.

Speaking about the movie, Karan said: “I’m almost petrified when it comes to making a movie with Shah Rukh and Kajol. Together, they have given iconic love movies, and so they raise the level of expectations each time they are paired.

No other film has been bought at an amount as high as MNIK, which by itself is making a history of sorts, surpassing last year’s mega hit “Ghajini”. The Aamir Khan-starrer was purchased then for Rs 90 crore.

Needless to say, SRK is a   crowd puller, and it is common knowledge that any producer would feel safe to have him as the lead actor to make at least twice the production budget.

Fox Star’s buyout of MNIK proves that Hollywood is taking interest in Bollywood films.

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