Manmohan Shetty's iRock to release two graphic novels

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By Money Sharma & Mrigank Dhaniwala, Bollywood Hungama News Network

Mumbai-based media ideation, film development and production company iRock Media is working on two graphic novels in the horror genre as part of their overall film genre development strategy. One of the novels, Bollywood of the Dead is expected to be ready by April and will be the first product from the iRock basket.

Talking to Bollywood Hungama, iRock CEO Sidhartha Jain said, "These are Indian graphic novels for Indian audiences. More than people who read graphic novels, we are targeting the ones who have read comics when they were kids & haven't caught onto the western graphic novels."

Bollywood of the Dead is currently in production and will be published before the release of iRock's first live-action and vfx-sfx film Shaadi of the Dead. "The scripts (for the graphic novels) have been finalized and we are currently in the design stage. We are also talking to publishers and a lot of them are interested because the space for Indian graphic novels is increasing," said Sidhartha.

The graphic novels' story will be different from that of the film but both will be in the same genre. Sidhartha said, "The novels are interlinked with the films we are doing. The first film that will probably go into production is a horror-comedy, Shaadi of the Dead. We are targeting a particular genre and then introducing the genre to the audience through various platforms, in a phased manner."

When asked about the foray in the publishing space, he said, "We are also getting into publishing content for the youth & kids. We want the reader to sample it [Graphic Novel] and enjoy the trippy treatment of the story. There are no Indian adult graphic novels in the market & this foray is a great way of getting into that space. In the kids' space, we will also be launching a picture-story book based on the novel & film 'Zudora'."

Shaadi of the Dead, he said, is a youthful, funky horror-comedy. It will also incorporate a lot of visual and special effects (make-up, prosthetics, etc.). Talking about the projects underway, he said, "Ten per cent of our projects are animation. Fifty per cent are vfx-driven while the rest are pure live-action. The kinds of stories we are looking at require vfx & sfx as they belong to genres such horror, fantasy and adventure. Comedy and chick-flicks are also an integral part of our production slate. The budget of live-action movies will be in the range of Rs 3-6 crores, whereas that for vfx movies will be in the range of Rs10-40 crores."

The company was founded by Manmohan Shetty, the founder and former CMD of Adlabs Films and ex-Adlabs head of animation & producer Sidhartha Jain in March 2008. iRock focuses on development of high concept and franchise worthy properties for feature films in both live action and animation. It is also working on an animated version of Andaz Apna Apna titled as Bananaz Apna Apna.

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