Balaji Motion Pictures splurging Rs 150 crore on six releases for 2013

Ekta Kapoor’s films Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai 2, Ragini MMS 2, Kuku Mathur Ki Jhand Ho Gayi, Shootout at Wadala, Ek Thi Daayan, Lootera will release in 2013

Not content with being queen of the idiot box, Ekta Kapoor has decided to take on Bollywood in a big way. Her Balaji Motion Pictures’ strategy had hitherto been to keep budgets under control and thus gain return on investments superior to big budget films. Not anymore it would seem. With millions of rupees being so much chump change in Kapoor’s cavernous rear pockets, Balaji is splashing out Rupees 150 crore for their six 2013 releases.

Tanuj Garg, CEO, Balaji Motion Pictures, who is very close to Kapoor, said, “We have put together a strong line-up with a lot of variety. The significant ramp-up in our slate demonstrates the seriousness and passion with which we are growing the movie business. We believe that an equal focus on co-productions and acquired properties is not only a financially prudent approach for us but should also accelerate our growth momentum. We’re pleased to be the only entity with market dominance in television and films alike.”

Balaji’s first two releases of 2013 will take on the mighty Indian Premier League (IPL), the only competition where an Indian team will always win. April 18 sees the release of supernatural thriller Ek Thi Daayan, starring Emraan Hashmi, Huma Qureshi, Kalki Koechlin and Konkona Sen Sharma, co-produced by Vishal Bhardwaj and directed by newcomer Kannan Iyer. On May 1, it’s the turn of well-known plagiarist Sanjay Gupta’s Shootout at Wadala, the prequel to Shootout at Lokhandwala, starring Anil Kapoor, John Abraham, Kangna Ranaut, Tusshar Kapoor, Manoj Bajpayee, Sonu Sood and Ronit Roy.

Releasing on June 7 is yet another Delhi-set comedy Kuku Mathur Ki Jhand Ho Gayi, a title bound to baffle non-NCR types and open to obscenely creative interpretation. A co-production with Bejoy Nambiar, it marks the directorial debut of adman Aman Sachdeva and launches Siddharth Gupta and former Miss India Simran Kaur. Enough is enough. Can Bollywood now please leave Delhi alone and victimise another city now, say, Faizabad? Vikramaditya Motwane’s love story Lootera, starring Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha, releases July 5 and will test whether the director has it in him to make a commercial film. It’s a co-production with Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Vikas Bahl of Phantom Films.

Milan Luthria’s Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai 2 (earlier called Once Upon a Time Again), starring Akshay Kumar, Imran Khan, Sonakshi Sinha and Sonali Bendre is Balaji’s standard-bearer for the year and it releases August 8. And finally, Bhushan Patel’s Ragini MMS 2, starring pornstar-turned-Sati Savitri Sunny Leone opens on October 11, hoping to attract the sleaze demographic to theatres.

Which one will you watch?