The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Corporate script for Tolly
- Meet to thrash out ways to better funds flow to showbiz

Calcutta, June 6: A riveting Bollywood meets Tollywood script and a lease of new life for cash-starved Bengali entertainment — that is the promise in the Confederation of Indian Industry’s plans to help corporatise showbiz in the state.

Movie mogul Subhas Ghai, the CII’s national committee chairman for entertainment and the boss of Mukta Arts, is scheduled to be in the city on June 24 as part of the industry body’s “series on Entertainment-East”.

“Synthesis of commerce and creativity”, ways to attract institutional finance and evolving a mechanism for flow of organised capital to the entertainment sector in Bengal will be debated and discussed at the one-day meet in the presence of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

All going well, CII might even be involved in the Calcutta International Film Festival.

The series on showbiz in the East will focus on corporatisation of the industry and “developing a workable model for raising finance for entertainment companies”.

“If our talent can go to Bollywood, even Bollywood can come here. Why can’t the talent here be used to make Hindi films, when they can go from here to act in Bollywood'” asked Sanjay Budhia, the eastern region chairman of CII.

Chief of Sahara Media & Entertainment Subrata Roy, who has taken interest in reviving Tollywood’s fortunes in recent times, and Union minister for information and broadcasting Ravi Shankar Prasad will attend the programme. So will Nimbus’ Raj Goel, Bobby Bedi of Kaliedoscope, P. Parameswaran of the National Film Development Corporation, Pankaj Sethi of Mukta Arts, Pritish Nandy of Pritish Nandy Communications, Farokh Balsara of Ernst & Young and Arijit Dutta of Priya Entertainment.

“Thanks to the chief minister. He is taking such a lot of interest in the revival of the sector here. I am looking forward to it,” said Dutta. Even actor-producer Prasenjit Chatterjee, scheduled to participate in a panel discussion at the meet, sounded hopeful. “I hope the key problem areas will be addressed and some positive results will come out,” he said.

When the chief minister met business bigwigs in Mumbai last week, CII’s interest in the entertainment industry in the state became apparent but it had been working on it for some time. Budhia and his CII colleagues met Bhattacharjee at Writers’ Buildings on April 22 to discuss ways to “showcase the success stories” of Bengal in manufacturing and how the confederation could help script a similar high in entertainment.

With Bhattacharjee showing keen interest, things took shape in the form of Entertainment-East. Budhia met Ghai at a dinner party in Delhi’s Maurya Sheraton on April 29, after Anand Mahindra took over as the CII president, and invited him over to Calcutta.

During Bhattacharjee’s Mumbai visit on June 2, CII director-general Tarun Das and Mahindra, a film buff himself, evinced interest in Bengali entertainment. Mahindra had also talked about a niche festival for “cerebral cinema” from across the globe in Calcutta.

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