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OSO price soars sky high

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By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Distribution rights for Shah Rukh Khan's films seem to be selling hotter than video rights for the AbhiAsh wedding. The bid for the distribution rights of his home production, Om Shanti Om, directed by Farah Khan, has touched Rs 55 crore, an unprecedented amount in B-Town. Now, it's a triangular contest between contenders Studio18, Sony and Adlabs, who are doing their best to top this amount.

'Double' benefit

Says film trade analyst Amod Mehra, "These corporate bodies have approached Shah Rukh for all rights to OSO, including India and overseas distribution along with satellite, audio and home video rights for 10 years. The amount they are offering him is higher than what director Nikhil Advani's Salaam-E-Ishq was paid last year. That was a first of its kind deal at Rs 42 crore."

Though Mehra is unwilling to disclose the current bidding amount, an industry source says, "The bid has already touched Rs 55 crore. So even if OSO has been made on a budget of Rs 15 crore, Shah Rukh will make a cool profit of Rs 40 crore. Everybody has been bidding obscene amounts for months. It will be interesting to see whether SRK will choose price over credibility or vice versa."

Brand value

Pooja Shetty of Adlabs is unwilling to comment on whether her company is part of the bidding war or not, but then unwittingly says, "It's not true that we offered Rs 55 crore." So why is OSO such hot property? Says Mehra, "Other than Yash Raj (Chopras) and Dharma (Karan Johar), none of the other production houses have the power or the moolah to sign Shah Rukh Khan, which is why he rarely works for other banners. But when a corporate entity that can't sign Shah Rukh gets a readymade SRK film with everything in place, it's like a dream come true. Hence they're more than willing to cough up such extravagant amounts.

A Shah Rukh Khan film gives them terrific branding and also makes their stock soar." For his part, Shah Rukh says, "I haven't sold the film yet and I will look into it only after I finish shooting later this month. None of the film's rights, including music and overseas, have been sold. Adlabs has shown interest, so has Sony and Studio18, but nothing has been discussed yet."

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