Sony Pictures Entertainment has promoted Shony Panjikaran and Lada Guruden Singh to take over the reins of its film distribution and production business in India.
Singh has been appointed to GM and head of Sony Pictures International Productions, India. He will oversee SPIP India’s local film development and production slate as well as its expansion in regional cinema. Lada will report to Michael Rifkin and Shebnem Askin, co-heads of SPIP.
Panjikaran has been appointed GM and head of Sony Pictures Releasing International, India. He will manage Sony’s theatrical releasing business, spanning Hollywood and local movies in India, and including all distribution, sales and marketing operations. Shony will report to Adam Herr, senior VP, distribution, Asia at Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Sony Pictures is continuing its investment in Indian theatrical projects and has expanded its footprint in regional-language cinema including Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam projects.
A former journalist, whose earlier executive experience included stints at Fox Star Studios and Disney India, Singh has been with the Sony Pictures group since 2014 in multiple capacities. He worked on titles including “Piku,” “PadMan,” “102 Not Out” and “Looop Lapeta” and has led the studio’s expansion in Malayalam and Telugu with “9” and the recent “Major.”
A ten-year veteran at Fox Star Studios, Panjikaran has overseen Sony Pictures Entertainment India’s marketing initiatives over the past four years. This period has included the release of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “Spiderman: Far From Home,” “Jumanji: The Next Level,” “Venom” and “Major.”
The Indian theatrical scene has undergone major changes in recent years, resulting in a much more open market. As multiplex cinemas have slowly reduced the influence of single screen venues, Hollywood films have more than doubled their market share. COVID-related cinema closures shook up film-making and exposed more to audiences to films from outside their language groups. That also helped weaken the patchwork of geographic fiefdoms that dominated Indian distribution for decades.
While some corporations have shifted their focus to streaming, those that remain in theatrical are experiencing a film distribution market in India that is virtually borderless and more dynamic than before.
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