The Lunchbox’s Dubai Film Connection

Wed Dec 11,2013

Tonight’s Indian gala film, THE LUNCHBOX, traces back a special link to Dubai. Two of the film’s producers, Arun Rangachari and Sunil John, are longtime residents and business leaders in the city, and are already working with the director Ritesh Batra on his second feature.

Rangachari, chairman and CEO of Dar Capital Group, whose Dar Motion Pictures produced THE LUNCHBOX, described turning director Ritesh Batra’s script into a film as one of the easiest decisions he’d ever taken. “Dar is a four-and-a-half-year-old production house in Mumbai and we’ve made about 10 films so far. We were in Cannes with four films [out of which THE LUNCHBOX and MONSOON SHOOTOUT are in this year’s DIFF programme]. I got into this business out of a love for cinema and a desire to make content-driven film without subsidising film. THE LUNCHBOX was clearly an Indian film for an international audience,” he said.

Starring Irrfan Khan (LIFE OF PI), the film had its world premiere at Cannes and won the Critics Week Viewers’ Choice Award. It was also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and is at DIFF in the Muhr AsiaAfrica Feature competition. It was commercially released in India in September across more than 400 screens, where it collected more than 20 crores in the first three weeks of business. Sony Pictures Classics owns the North American rights for distribution.

“Dar’s track record is enviable and it has an interesting portfolio. Big budget, heavyweight films, smaller, indie projects and even 3D horror,” said John, chief executive officer of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller and partner and director at DAR Motion Pictures.

“Ritesh’s script found us. It had already won several awards as a script, but at the time, big studios wouldn’t have touched it. For us, it was a calculated risk, since we were working with an off-beat subject and a first-time director,” he added.

Dar now has its eyes set on the Middle East’s market. “We wanted to establish ourselves in India, which we’ve done and as we’ve lived and worked in Dubai for so long, we definitely want to do more out here. DIFF has done a lot to bring out great films to Dubai and I think it’s the right time to sustain that momentum throughout the year,” Rangachari said. Dar’s distribution arm bought THE LUNCHBOX’s Middle East rights and will release the film across the UAE’s screens later this month.

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