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India and UK to collaborate for $ 150 million TV production

The 2018 remake of The Far Pavilions will be 30 one-hour episodes of high-end drama, combining Indian acting talent and London’s post-production skills

Producer of Far Pavilions, Michael Ward and Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced the biggest-ever TV co-production between London and India – a remake of The Far Pavilions, based on the novel by British author MM Kaye. The co-production worth £113 million ($150 million) will be produced by Beautiful Bay Productions (Indian-based producer Michael Ward and UK-based producer Colin Burrows) and will feature the best of Indian on-screen talent.

The unique collaboration will be produced by a creative crew including both Indian and British technicians. Post-production for the high-end drama will be based in London, the centre for VFX (visual effects) and post-production facilities.

The Far Pavilions was written by Kaye in 1978. It tells the story of an Englishman brought up as a Hindu during the British Raj, and his passionate love for an Indian princess. It was turned into a three-episode mini-series in 1984, starring Ben Cross, Amy Irving, Omar Sharif and Christopher Lee. The 2018 remake will be much longer – running to 30 episodes of one hour each.

The Mayor made this announcement in Mumbai during the UK-India Year of Culture. He met prominent British people working in Bollywood, highlighting the longstanding cultural ties between the two film capitals of London and Mumbai. Alongside the producers Ward and Burrows, Khan met film composer and music producer of Bombay Dub Orchestra and Bohemia Junction, Andrew T Mackay, hair and make-up designer Clover Wootton and film director Pia Sukanya.

He also met Bollywood stars at an industry dinner hosted by Mukesh Ambani. Khan is on the second day of a trade mission to India as part of his continued drive to create jobs, skills and growth in London.

More than 1000 films are produced in India every year, making it one of the biggest producers of films in the world. London is the third biggest film-making city in the world after LA and New York with an average of 40 crews filming in London’s streets every day. Around 20 Indian films have been shot in London in the last 12 months.

Khan added, “UK and India’s film and TV industries have a long, proud tradition of working together. I’m delighted to announce this landmark collaboration on The Far Pavilions. It represents the best of British and Indian talent and sends a clear message to the rest of the world that London is open to partnerships, to collaboration, to creativity and for business.”

Ward said, “Having based myself in Mumbai for most of the last decade, I’m excited to spearhead the Indian end of this international collaboration. It’s the perfect time to take my stage adaptation of Mollie Kaye’s masterpiece much further and deeper into its Indian cultural landscape, and to invite the best of Indian and British talents to contribute towards turning it into a high-end television series authentically written and cast for a global audience.”

Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission Adrian Wootton, said, “From this high-end adaptation of The Far Pavilions to our own microbudget feature The Hungry, the exchange of talent, skills and business between the Indian and UK screen industries has enormous potential. This adaptation promises to be a sumptuous spectacle in its own right, but it’s also indicative of how our above-and below-the-line talent can come together to create a production that harnesses everything from Indian locations to London’s world-famous post-production expertise.”

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