The Hindi film industry is making rapid strides towards real cinema

Written by Priyanka Akhouri | Updated: Jul 22 2009, 03:38am hrs
Nagendra Karri
Writer-director-producer Nagendra Karri is the CEO of Eternal Mind Productions, a film company based in New York. Born in Vizag, this 26-year-old filmmaker moved to New York to pursue higher studies. With a background in theatre arts and screenwriting, his maiden ventureWhere Are You Sophiaa 92-minute suspense thrillerwas an independent entry at the Cannes Film Festival 2009. In an exclusive interview with FEs Priyanka Akhouri, Karri talks about his first Hollywood venture that is slated to hit Indian screens and his upcoming film Mobster. Excerpts:

Where did the idea for Where are you Sophia come from When is the film set to be screened in India

The idea for Where are you Sophia happened as an alternative to our second feature Mobster. Initially, we wanted to have Mobster as our debut feature, but because of the movies high budget and the financial situation in the US, we had to go for a low-budget feature as our first project. We plan to release the film this August in India. The sound design and visual effects for the film was done in Mumbai and Chennai, thus giving it an Indian touch.

Tell us something about Mobster

Mobster is in the post-production phase and is budgeted at $30 million, with Eternal Mind Productions investing $6 million, and the rest coming from our venture capitalists in the US and other collaborations from India. The film will star Leonardo Di Caprio and will be marketed as an Indo-US collaboration. The English version of Mobster will be shot in New York, Moscow and New Orleans, though we are yet to finalise locations for the Hindi version.

What are your plans for Hindi film industry

We plan to produce Hollywood films and remake them in Hindi for the Indian audience. India would be our principal destination in terms of the locations and promotion events. Also, they cater to different audience and have their distinct style of films. I wouldnt be surprised if the Hindi film industry takes over as the numero uno soon in the future. With the current blend of filmmakers, the Hindi film industry is making rapid strides towards real cinema, which appeals to the world audience.

Do you have any plans to set up an Indian production house

We are planning to tie up with an Indian production house very soon and are talking to a few of them. The Hindi version of Mobster and Cannes are two projects in the pipeline. The Hindi version of Mobster is budgeted at Rs 25 crore, with the same name. Casting will be done this month for the Hindi version. We plan to go into production of Mobster around August-September 2009 followed by Cannes in 2010.

How are you going to raise $30 million for your second film

The logistics of releasing a film in the US is completely different to what we see in India. We have concentrated to use all the channels to generate the maximum profits to our investors in the US. Our primary source of funds will be our VCs based in the US, we are also expecting new sources this time around from India. We have so far roped in two investors from India for our next project Mobster. We expect to talk to a few more in the coming weeks. Pavan Cargo Lines will be one of the investors from India.