Friday, March 31, 2023

India’s IMEN Sets Extensive Action Slate, Australia Co-Production ‘Riley’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Indian Media Entertainment Network (IMEN) has revealed a robust film and series slate that will keep it busy through 2023.

First up is action film, Nilesh Sahay’s “Squad,” introducing Rinzing Denzongpa, which was shot extensively in Belarus. When the six-year-old granddaughter of India’s leading scientist is kidnapped, India sends a crack team led by a man (Denzongpa) who must battle PTSD and his own demons to save her.

IMEN had entered into a first look deal with the ZEE group in 2018 and “Squad” will bow on the global ZEE5 streaming platform in October during the Diwali holiday frame. IMEN has devised a two-month long marketing plan along with a trailer launch that is designed as a post-pandemic mega event with the who’s who of the Indian film industry attending.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” stunt co-ordinator Keir Beck will turn director with Indo-Australian co-production “Riley,” set in the mines of Western Australia. “The film deals with a man struggling to deal with his problems,” said Beck. “It’s a human story, however, it will have some extremely amazing chases like I have done in ‘Mad Max.’”

Production will commence in August 2022, with a view to releasing in 2023.

Before that is “Ambush,” written, produced and directed by Sahay, billed as a “fast paced actioner set against a global financial crisis that challenges the fate of humanity.” Harshvardhan Rane (Netflix’s “Haseen Dillruba”) plays a Special Security Commando who must protect an extremely high value target against the world’s greatest threats. The film will also feature a cameo by an A-list Indian action star. Production is due to commence in November with Frank Torres (“The A-Team”) on board as stunt coordinator.

“I wrote the film 5 years ago, however I had a problem with casting it till I met Harsh,” Sahay told Variety. “He’s got the attitude and style for an action hero and people will be blown away when they see him in the film.”

In March 2022, IMEN will commence “Ronin,” starring Denzongpa. ” ‘Ronin’ is my tentpole in all senses as it deals with India and Indians globally under threat where one wrong move can wipe the country off the world map,” said Sahay. “Rinzing Denzongpa is on his way to becoming a major action hero. ‘Squad’ itself is a massive action film and with ‘Ronin’ we are taking it 10 levels higher.”

IMEN will then move onto two action comedies titled “Agents” and “Iss Diwali” that are currently in development and will begin shooting mid-2022, along with two action series, “Unit-X” and “The One” as well as two women-centric action films, one titled “Devi,” and the other as yet untitled.

IMEN is investing INR1 billion ($13.5 million) in the slate with a further INR1 billion being raised from private equity investors.

“We know how to make large scale action in a cost effective budget so that the films and series work for everyone,” said Sahay. “As the founder of IMEN it was always my dream to put Indian action content on the global market and build sustainable franchises that are not driven by stars but by story. We are slowly achieving that and soon with ‘Riley,’ ‘Ronin’ and ‘Ambush’ along with our gaming and graphic novel divisions, we shall be a key contender in content and distribution of action content on a global level.”


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