India’s Reliance Entertainment, a producer on Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans,” has pacted with T-Series and Anubhav Sinha’s Benaras Mediaworks to distribute Sudhir Mishra’s “Afwaah,” Sinha’s “Bheed” and Hansal Mehta’s “Faraaz” internationally.

First up is Mehta’s hostage drama “Faraaz,” starring Zahan Kapoor, Aditya Rawal, Juhi Babbar Soni, which releases Feb. 3. The film, which had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, unfolds over one night and is based on an incident in July 2016, where armed gunmen held up customers at the Holey Artisan Bakery, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for 12 hours, before killing 20 of them and two of the bakery staff.

Bangladeshi auteur Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s “Saturday Afternoon,” based on the same incident, was recently cleared for release after a four-year struggle with the Bangladesh Film Censor Board.

Next up is Sudhir Mishra’s thriller “Afwaah,” starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Bhumi Pednekar, Sumeet Vyas and Sharib Hashmi. A release date is being finalized. Mishra most recently directed “Tanaav,” the Indian adaptation of “Fauda.”

Anubhav Sinha’s “Bheed,” starring Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Kapur, Bhumi Pednekar, Ashutosh Rana and Dia Mirza, is set for a March 24 release. The socio-political drama sheds light on the social disparity that India faced in tough times.

In recent years Benaras has made a mark with hard-hitting stories based on burning social themes in India, including religious biases, caste discrimination and domestic violence, with hits including “Mulk” (2018), “Article 15” (2019) and “Thappad” (2020).

Anubhav Sinha, founder and MD, Benaras Mediaworks said that the association with Reliance Entertainment gives the company “an opportunity to ensure that the messaging within all our films reaches out to a larger and more diverse audience.”

Bhushan Kumar, chair and MD, T-Series added, “T-Series is taking rapid strides at making Indian entertainment available to the global audience. There’s more to come, and I hope we continue to strive and achieve even greater heights in the coming years.”

Dhruv Sinha, head, overseas businesses, Reliance Entertainment, said: “We will be using specific focused release strategies that is content specific, which films produced by Benaras demand. With a changing audience taste this is the need of the hour and we recognize it. Additionally, this collaboration will not only give us an opportunity to strengthen our existing partnerships with T-Series and Benaras, but will also extend to other independent filmmakers and production houses in exploiting their films to their fullest distribution potential.”   

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