The Walt Disney Company is renowned for its unforgettable female characters, from Snow White and Cinderella through the Little Mermaid and Princess Jasmine to Rapunzel and Princess Merida, more recently.
And now, the Indian arm of the venerable film studio is bringing its peerless expertise in enduring and endearing female leads to Bollywood.
‘Khoobsurat’ is a collaboration between Disney India and Anil Kapoor’s production company and will tell the story of an “exuberant”, “vivacious” and “fun” young girl who turns the staid old lives of an Indian royal family upside down.
The heroine will be played by Kapoor’s daughter, the wistful and languid Bollywood beauty Sonam Kapoor who will head an ensemble cast including veteran actresses Kirron Kher and Ratna Pathak Shah as well as acclaimed theatre impressario and actor Amir Raza Husain.
‘Khoobsurat’ will be directed by little-known filmmaker Shashanka Ghosh and produced by Rhea Kapoor, younger sister and fashion designer to Sonam.
“For a long time now we were looking for a script with Disney’s values and we’re happy to have found that in Khoobsurat. Khoobsurat is entertainment with a heart”, said Rucha Pathak, Senior Creative Director – Studios, Disney UTV.
Disney UTV, Disney India’s parent and distributor, is the company created in 2012 following the $450 million acquisition of UTV Motion Pictures by Disney Pictures.
Whilst the company has had significant success producing and distributing Bollywood blockbusters such as ‘Barfi!’ and ‘Chennai Express’, ‘Khoobsurat’ is the first film to be infused with Disney’s treacly and wholesome cinema philosophy.
“Disney always stood for wholesome and heartwarming entertainment and we look forward to creating that with this film as well. Shashank’s take on the film is unexpected, colourful, fun and everything you find in your favourite Disney movie”, added producer Rhea Kapoor.
Intriguingly, whilst the film’s ethos may be “wholesome”, director Ghosh is best-known as the creative driving force of cutting-edge music channels MTV India and Channel V and director of the hugely entertaining spoof Western ‘Quick Gun Murugan’ and this year’s dark caper ‘Waisa Bhi Hota Hai’.
Ghosh has also described himself as an admirer of the Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarantino, filmmakers not immediately associated with classic Disney films.
‘Khoobsurat’ is released summer 2014.