Bollywood Buzz

Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar’s ‘2.0’ bags biggest television deal in Bollywood

15Rajini-Akki-1Rajinikanth-starrer 2.0 has struck a whopper deal. Satellite-television rights of the trilingual sci-fi thriller have been acquired by Zee for Rs 110 crore — said to be the biggest TV deal in Bollywood history. The Tamil, Telugu and Hindi satellite rights will be with the channel for 15 years. Zee had also picked up Aamir Khan’s Dangal (2016) for Rs 75 crore.

2.0 makers describe the film as a spiritual successor to the 2010 Tamil film Enthiran, which starred Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Raju Mahalingam, COO of Lyca Productions, tweeted, “It’s true. Lyca Productions gets a partner in Zee for our mega opus 2.0 satellite.”

The Diwali release, which is in the final leg of shoot, is touted to be made on a budget of Rs 450 crore, making it the most expensive Indian film till date. AR Rahman has scored the music for Shankar’s film, which also stars Amy Jackson, with Akshay Kumar playing the antagonist.

For a while, producers had been signing lucrative deals with channels, promoting a sense of competition among new GECs to acquire big-ticket films and reaching out to a wider audience. However, TV rights started going cheap in 2015, especially as biggies crashed at the box office. The rates for satellite rights of Hindi films fell by nearly 40 per cent over the past three years.

While sources close to Zee said the channel did not wish to comment on the deal, veteran TV analyst Anil Wanvari says, “The price seems too high. What does it cover? Is it satellite, digital rights in all languages, dubbed and subtitled?

Terrestrial as well? If true, then it looks to be setting a new benchmark. Will the channel break even on this acquisition? It could prove challenging.”

Other big satellite deals
> Hrithik Roshan sold rights of his six films to Star TV for Rs 550 crore last year.
> Sony picked up Aamir-starrer Dhoom: 3 (2013) for Rs 65 crore.
> Star inked deal with Salman Khan for Rs 450-500 crore in 2013, acquiring exclusive rights to his films from January 2013 and December 2017.
> Ajay Devgn followed suit with an agreement with Star in 2013 worth Rs 400 crore for all his films until 2017.

Bahubali too?
Insiders reveal SS Rajabouli’s Bahubali: The Conclusion, which is slated to release next month, has struck a Rs 115-crore deal with Sony. An official announcement is yet to be made. The trailer of the film starring Prabhas will be unveiled on March 16.

Sabse bada kaun?
Satellite rights play a key role in movie funding. If the film stars an A-lister, TV channels go all out to cough up big bucks for the rights just prior to or during the film’s shooting. Satellite rights sale is like an auction — whoever pays more get permission to screen it on the tube.

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