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Padmavati: Eros International keen, but Bhansali eyeing Reliance JIO?

Contrary to reports, Eros International was never part of the filmmaker’s upcoming magnum opus, pegged to be made at Rs180 crore.

Mayur Lookhar

It had successfully produced Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 2015 epic drama Bajirao Mastani, but Eros International is unlikely to be part of the filmmaker's next project, Padmavati.

While the exact reason is not known, rumour has it that Eros International had backed out of the project owing to the film’s huge budget.

However, an industry source offered a different perspective.

“Padmavati was signed for Viacom18 Motion Pictures. Bhansali and Viacom18 are on the lookout for a co-producer. Eros International is trying to muscle its way in. The film’s budget will be around Rs180 crore, and with such high costs at stakes, it is natural for Bhansali to look for more partners,” said an industry source.

Buzz now has it that Bhansali is eyeing Reliance JIO as a potential partner.

We contacted Jyoti Deshpande, group chief executive and MD of Eros International, and the official spokesperson of Reliance JIO, but didn’t receive a reply at the time of publishing this news.

Earlier, there was talk of Eros International backing out of Ajay Devgn’s Shivaay. The actor then tied up with Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Entertainment for distribution.

Unlike Eros International, Viacom18 Motion Pictures has been largely producing low-budget films over the years. Padmavati would be their first big budget film. No official statement was issued by Viacom18 Motion Pictures and calls and text messages to COO Ajit Andhare went unanswered. 

Big productions are evaluating their Hindi film production strategies following Disney India’s move to shut its Hindi film production. The latter spent close to Rs150 crore on Hrithik Roshan-starrer Mohenjo Daro (2016), but the film flopped badly.

Co-production and collaboration is likely to be the name of the game from here. Padmavati stars Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor. 

Viacom18 Motion Pictures is part of Viacom18 (a Viacom and Network 18 joint venture) based in Mumbai, with Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Entertainment Industries owning the media house.