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Local information baron VSS Mani backs wife’s Bollywood venture

VSS Mani

VSS Mani

Local information search baron VSS Mani and his better half Anita seem to be smitten by the Bollywood bug.

The power couple behind online business listing platform Justdial is closely involved with the upcoming Bollywood flick ‘Baankey Ki Crazy Baraat,’ a situational comedy based on Indian weddings.

While Anita has donned the producer’s hat for the film, VSS Mani and Anita have jointly penned the story, screenplay and dialogues.

Speaking to Techcircle, VSS Mani, founder and CEO of the Mumbai-based Justdial Ltd, said: “Justdial is not directly involved in the making of the film. However, I have given my inputs on the creative and marketing side. Anita is in charge of affairs and she is producing the movie under the banner of A M Feel Good Films.”

Directed by debutant director Ajaz Khan, ‘Baankey Ki Crazy Baraat’ is a family entertainer. The plot revolves around a wedding in North India where everything goes wrong. The film has been shot in Mumbai and parts of Himachal Pradesh.

‘Baankey Ki Crazy Baraat,’ has Tia Bajpai and Satyajeet Dubey in the lead roles and Sanjay Mishra, Rajpal Yadav and Vijay Raaz in supporting roles. The movie is expected to hit the theatres later this year. Its teaser is already garnering attention on YouTube with over 7,500 views since it was released on June 4.

VSS Mani, who currently has a networth of around Rs 2,200 crore, started his career with UDI (United Database India Pvt Ltd) in 1987 where he mastered the concept of space selling in Yellow Pages over a two-year period. In 1989, he co-founded ASK ME Services, the first company to launch the concept of a telephonic information service in India. Mani started Justdial in 1994. Anita Mani is a non-independent, non-executive director of Justdial, a company with a market capitalisation of Rs 7,647 crore.

Mumbai-based Justdial Ltd, which runs Justdial.com, provides information of small and medium businesses across the country. It also provides services across multiple platforms, including the internet, phone, wireless and print. Justdial posted a 38 per cent increase in net profit for the quarter ended March 31, 2015 to Rs 47.16 crore, partly boosted by ‘other income’ besides a reasonable growth in turnover.

According to the DI International Business Development (DIBD), a consulting unit of the Confederation of Danish Industry, Bollywood is expected to generate $4.5 billion (Rs 27,450 crore) in revenue by 2016.

The Manis join a growing list of successful entrepreneurs who are investing in film projects.

Anupam Mittal, whose People Group is behind matrimonial portal Shaadi.com and mobile appstore Mauj, has produced movies such as Flavors (2003) and 99 (2009).

Kishore Biyani-led Future Group had co-produced the Hrithik Roshan-Esha Deol starrer Na Tum Jaano Na Hum in 2002 through PFH Entertainment.

In July last year, Mahindra Group CMD Anand Mahindra invested in the Cinestaan Film Company, a firm which announced its foray into film production with a three-film agreement with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s ROMP Pictures.

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