With localization business seeing an exponential growth owing to the rise of OTT platforms, VR Films and Studios Limited sees a huge potential in the
European market to cater fresh content to the Indian and SAARC markets that can be dubbed in local languages, say Manish Dutt and Krishi Dutt, Directors, VR Films and Studios Limited
What is your objective at Berlinale 2020 and European Film Market?
At Berlinale, we will catch up on European cinema and will look forward to the acquisition of content driven features for India. We are in talks with some European players for collaboration on film production and at this Berlinale will meet them to take it forward. We also look forward to connecting with people for our localization business, and in this way, we bring the world closer back home.
Berlinale is celebrating 70 years this year and you have been a regular at Berlin for over a decade now. How has Berlinale influenced or impacted you?
Berlinale for us has always been very important and is always the first festival and market with which we begin our year. We have been regularly coming here for the last 10 years. Berlinale provides a fabulous platform to European Cinema where one gets to see the very best from Baltic, Scandinavia, East Europe, Central Europe, West Europe, the UK, and many more countries. It is always a pleasure to come here and meet our film fraternity friends from the world over. Also, it’s such a delight to see India being prominently represented for the last two years, creating business opportunities with the best international film houses.
Film ‘Parasite’ has won the Best Picture at oscars? How do you see this change? You have been working very closely with south Korea’s CJ Entertainment?
CJ Entertainment has been a good friend of ours. We have acquired many Korean titles from them for the Indian Sub-Continent. ‘Yoonhee’, ‘Eunji’, and ‘Namyoung’ need a special mention as they have been very kind, accommodating and have always worked hard to get Korean Cinema to our part of the world. ‘Parasite’ is a fantastic film with a beautiful screenplay, very good direction and performances. There is not a single moment in the film which forces you to drift away. It keeps you spellbound irrespective of the fact that you may not understand the language; it transcends all such boundaries. No wonder the film swept all the major awards including the Palme D’or, Golden Globe and now Oscars. In the last Cannes Film Festival, CJ Entertainment was very keen on us acquiring ‘Parasite’ for the Indian Sub-Continent. But since our plate was already full, we let it pass. I guess one loses some and wins some, but nevertheless we are very happy for all of them and more happy to see them all make lots of money. Content is surely the king at the box-office.
All along, VR Films has been working to bring European cinema to India. With localization in full swing because of streaming is there any action now on this front?
Yes indeed. We have been working in this space for the last four years-meeting production houses and agents from all over Europe with the hope that one day the doors for such brilliant cinema would open in India. Thanks to the surge in OTT platforms that such cinema is now having viewers in India. The younger generation is keen on watching such Cinema and this brings lots of opportunities for our other business — localization — as Indians like to hear and watch movies rather than read (subtitles) and watch them. We have more than 65 dubbing studios across India, and we are working around the clock dubbing foreign content for OTT and TV in Hindi and other Indian regional languages like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Urdu, neutral English, among others. Currently, we clock around 400 hours of dubbing per month and the demand is still growing. Hollywood films too are getting localized in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu and we continue to do a lot of work for major Hollywood film studios.
This january, we became a member of Netflix’s NP3 (post partner program), which is a huge achievement as it gives us the opportunity to dub their content in Indian languages…
Which projects are you working on? What are your goals for 2020?
We started 2020 with the Theatrical Release of “The Courier” starring Gary Oldman and Olga Kurylenko.
We look forward to Russell Crowe starrer ‘Unhinged’ that we have acquired to distribute in the Indian Sub-Continent. It will have a wide theatrical release in Q3 this year in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and English. ‘Jolt’ is another exciting title starring Kate Beckinsale which will release in Q3/Q4 this year. We also have a horror title from the UK, ‘The Power’, that is slated for release in 2020… So it’s packed 2020 for us. Apart from these three films, we have many other titles that are in production and will have 2021 release. For our localization business, we are setting up more studios as this business is growing with every passing day. We intend to get into the production of content too for which we are in talks with many players.
We started our relationship with Amazon Prime Video and put some of our Titles on their platform and they are performing well.