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Siddharth Roy Kapur is likely to quit The Walt Disney Co. (India) after the release of ‘Dangal’. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
Siddharth Roy Kapur is likely to quit The Walt Disney Co. (India) after the release of ‘Dangal’. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Siddharth Roy Kapur likely to quit Disney

Siddharth Roy Kapur is said to join Aamir Khan, Karan Johar and others to form a production and distribution company

New Delhi: Siddharth Roy Kapur, managing director of The Walt Disney Co. (India), is likely to quit the studio in January, according to two people familiar with the development.

Kapur has headed the Indian arm of the American conglomerate that currently operates Disney and UTV Motion Pictures as well as a network of television channels since 2014.

Kapur, 42, joined UTV in 2005, took over as chief executive officer of UTV Motion Pictures in 2008 and after the integration of UTV with The Walt Disney Co. (India) in 2012, held the role of managing director-studios. He was promoted as managing director of Disney India in 2014.

“Yes, there is a strong buzz that he may be leaving soon, and it’s likely to happen after the release of Dangal," said one of the two people quoted above.

Both Disney India and Kapur were unavailable for comment.

Dangal, a film about wrestling starring Aamir Khan, is scheduled for release on 23 December. It will be one of Disney’s last Hindi projects as the studio plans to focus more on its Hollywood slate, particularly after the recent debacle of director Ashutosh Gowariker’s period drama Mohenjo Daro.

Kapur will join big Bollywood names like Aamir Khan, Karan Johar, Ronnie Screwvala and distributor Anil Thadani to form a production, distribution and digital projection company after he quits Disney, said the second person.

They are also said to have acquired a stake in United Mediaworks Pvt. Ltd (UMW), a digital cinema server that has a sizeable presence in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and parts of Bihar.

In 2014, Screwvala stepped down as chief of Disney India, ending his association with UTV Software Communications, a media firm founded by him and acquired by Disney for 800 crore- 1,000 crore. In December 2016, he also ends his contractual arrangement with Disney to not be part of any entertainment-related venture after the departure.

“If you notice, the production company will bring together many people who are at the top of their game—actor, producer, marketing expert, distributor," said the second person.

The first project from the collaboration could be a revival of Johar’s long-delayed Shuddhi, which stands shelved. A film featuring Hrithik Roshan is also on the cards. Both are expected to hit the screens in 2018.

While speculation is rife on the names that could replace Kapur at Disney India, industry experts say an obvious choice would be Amrita Pandey, current vice-president, studios, at Disney India.

“From heading marketing to distribution, Pandey’s responsibilities have multiplied manifold in the past two years," said the second person. “She is the senior-most member of the leadership team after Kapur and could possibly head all-India operations."

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