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Director-led studio Phantom Films dissolved after 7-year run

Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Madhu Mantena and Vikas Bahl announced the dissolution of the company on Twitter, suggesting they would seek independent collaborations on films in the future. 

Shriram Iyengar

The flagship enterprise for independent, radical filmmaking, Phantom Films, has dissolved. The founders — Anurag Kashyap, Madhu Mantena, Vikramaditya Motwane and Vikas Bahl — announced that they are dissolving their seven-year-old partnership in Phantom Films, and are going their separate ways.

Phantom Films recently produced the acclaimed Sacred Games for Netflix with Motwane and Kashyap as the showrunners. The series is set to have a second season in 2019. The production house, started in 2011, launched itself with the critically acclaimed Motwane film, Lootera (2013) before going on to produce films like Queen (2014), Masaan (2015), Trapped (2017) and more recently, Bhavesh Joshi Superhero (2018).

Clockwise from top left: Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Madhu Mantena and VIkas Bahl

Announcing the dissolution of the company on Twitter, Kashyap wrote, 'Phantom was a dream, a glorious one and all dreams come to an end. We did our best and we succeeded and we failed.'

The statement on Twitter was followed by Motwane also sharing his thoughts. "It's been the craziest, greatest journey and the most wonderful partnership of my life. My three partners have been my family through thick and thin and I can't thank them enough for their love and support for the past seven years. I wish them nothing but the best on their individual journeys from here on and hope our paths will cross again in better times.'

Phantom Films has been a regular supplier of films to international festivals across the world. Queen (2014) was a breakout feminist hit, while Kashyap's Ugly (2014) was a Cannes selection in the same year. Masaan (2015) and Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016) also went to Cannes.

In 2015, Phantom Films entered into a partnership with Reliance Entertainment to jointly produce five-six films every year for syndication. The individual filmmakers will continue to partner with Reliance, though on independent projects.

In his statement, Mantena said, "All of us will continue to work with our partners Reliance Entertainment exclusively."

The company had also struck a deal with Stan Lee's POW Entertainment to develop Lee's Chakra The Invincible into a live-action film, directed by Motwane.

The company has been going through some troubles between the partners. The accusations of sexual harassment against Bahl in 2017 led to an unspoken split between the quartet.

In a recent interview, Kashyap admitted as much speaking to Bombay Times, "Vikas works in the company, he is a partner and nothing against him has been proven. But mutually, we have decided that we will work separately, in separate premises. Vikas and I are not on talking terms; everything else is a rumour."

Phantom Films' last production will be Bahl's upcoming, Super 30, starring Hrithik Roshan.