ashok amritraj

Indian American Hollywood producer Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment Group has launched a new production division, with its first slate focusing on Indian stories. Directors like Gurinder Chadha, Zoya Akhtar and Imtiaz Ali will be helming some of those initial projects. (photo provided)

Renowned Indian American Hollywood producer Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment Group, one of the leading independent entertainment companies, has launched a new division, Hyde Park Entertainment Asia, which will focus on “producing high profile film and TV projects created by Indian and Asian filmmakers to spotlight authentic stories for a global audience, helmed by a diverse and inclusive talent pool.”

“Continuing Hyde Park’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, the division’s first slate will have a focus on Indian stories for both English-and local-language audiences,” the group announced Aug. 22.

While Hyde Park will continue to produce and finance studio and independent films and television from its headquarters in Los Angeles, Calif., the company will also expand its production operations by adding an Asian base in Chennai, India, which joins its European offices in London.

“Hyde Park and Image Nation Abu Dhabi continue their long-term film financing partnership,” the company said.

“Now more than ever the Hollywood dream needs to be multicultural and all inclusive,” said Amritraj. “I look forward to collaborating with wonderful Indian and Asian talent long into the future to tell unique and authentic stories that reflect our global world.”

Amritraj has been a pioneering force in building film and cultural bridges between the East and West for the past 35 years and has been mentoring young filmmakers and developing projects in Asia since 1990.

In 2016, he was appointed the first U.N. India Goodwill Ambassador for the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2018, by decree of the President of the Republic of France, Amritraj was appointed a Chevalier (Knight) of the Ordre National du Mérite, bestowed in recognition of contributions to the arts in France and worldwide.

Hyde Park has been behind films such as “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” starring Nicolas Cage; “Bringing Down The House,” starring Steve Martin; “Premonition,” starring Sandra Bullock; and “Walking Tall,” starring The Rock, and many more.

Hyde Park Entertainment Asia’s initial slate, according to the company, includes:

“Pashmina”: A large-scale animated musical feature with Netflix in the vein of “Coco.” Based on the bestselling graphic novel by Nidhi Chanani, “Pashmina” is a magical story of family and cultural connection with Gurinder Chadha (“Bend It Like Beckham,” “Blinded by the Light”) on-board to direct.

“Break The Room: with Paul Feig”: Hyde Park is developing an Indian American half-hour comedy series like “Fresh Off The Boat” with Paul Feig’s Diversity Initiative Powderkeg and ShivHans Pictures from writers Sameer Gardezi (“Modern Family”) and Jimy Shah.

“Maximum City”: A sweeping franchise of films in the vein of “Traffic” based on the Pulitzer Prize finalist book by Suketu Mehta that explores the interconnecting power, politics, and criminal underworld of Mumbai. Auteur filmmaker Anurag Kashyap (“Sacred Games”) will be the showrunner and director and Good Bad Films LLP will co- produce with Hyde Park.

“Paradise Towers”: A drama series adaptation of Shweta Bachchan Nanda’s bestselling novel about the intertwining lives, forbidden romances, and mounting tensions between neighbors in an exclusive Mumbai apartment complex. One of India’s most celebrated directors, Zoya Akhtar (Amazon’s “Made in Heaven”) brings the project to the screen alongside Hyde Park Entertainment. Shweta Bachchan-Nanda is a columnist for Vogue and daughter of Indian superstars Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan.

“The Conch Bearer: A YA-Fantasy series adapted from Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s bestselling trilogy that follows a young boy on a magical adventure that has been compared to “Harry Potter” for India. Imtiaz Ali (“Highway,” “Rockstar”), one of India’s most prominent filmmakers will be the show runner and direct the pilot for the series. It will be produced by Hyde Park Entertainment and Window Seat Films, LLP (a JV between India’s premier film studio, Reliance Entertainment and Imtiaz Ali).

“Deb”: An eight-part television series from renowned writer-director Nagesh Kukunoor, whose film, “Dhank,” won the Crystal Bear Grand Prix at the Berlin International Film Festival. In the vein of “Constantine,” the series is a modern-day, edge-of-your-seat thriller rooted in ancient Indian mythology.

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