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Indian Entertainment Conglomerate to Finance Hollywood Films


India's largest entertainment conglomerate is investing millions of dollars to produce films in collaboration with a Hollywood studio.

Mumbai-based Reliance Big Entertainment says it will invest $325 million to help finance the production of five to six films a year by the American film company, DreamWorks Studios.

The Indian conglomerate entered into a partnership with DreamWorks Studios last year as its co founder, Steven Spielberg, looked for capital for new projects.

Reliance Big Entertainment said it is providing the "financial muscle" to help "uniquely talented individuals such as Steven Spielberg realize their dreams." Steven Spielberg said "the venture with Reliance opens a new door to our future."

The movies to be produced by the joint venture are expected to star some of the biggest Hollywood stars, and will be commercial, general entertainment films. The first film is slated to be released next year.

Mumbai-based film trade analyst, Komal Nahata, says Reliance's partnership with DreamWorks will give global exposure to the Indian entertainment industry.

"It comes on the international map. That is the biggest advantage. Now imagine reading Reliance's name in the credit titles of a Steven Spielberg film. It means a lot," Nahata said.

The venture between Reliance Big Entertainment and DreamWorks Studios comes at a time when monetary constraints due to last year's financial crisis has made it difficult for Hollywood studios to find credit.

Analysts say the deal may encourage more international film makers to look toward India for financing.

Komal Nahata says Reliance's foray into Hollywood could also be instrumental in bringing Hollywood a step closer to the Indian film industry known as Bollywood.

"It is a step toward marriage of Bollywood and Hollywood, what we have been talking of for long. This would mean that they are partners in international projects. Suddenly Bollywood will be viewed far more seriously by Hollywood than ever," Nahata said.

Bollywood stars, musicians and technical talent got international exposure recently with the Oscar-winning film Slum Dog Millionaire, produced by British film maker Danny Boyle. Since then the Indian film industry has expressed hopes that it will see more international directors head its way for film projects and collaborations.

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