Sony Pictures Entertainment is strengthening its India team with the appointments of Shony Panjikaran as general manager and head of Sony Pictures Releasing International (SPRI), India, and Lada Guruden Singh as general manager and head of Sony Pictures International Productions (SPIP), India.
The move marks the first time Sony has split its India operations between two heads. It was previously headed by Vivek Krishnani, who stepped down in March, and was recently reported to be joining Indian media group IN10 Media Network to head its new film division.
Panjikaran will manage Sony’s theatrical releasing business across both US studio and locally-produced films in India, including all distribution, sales and marketing efforts. He will report to Adam Herr, senior vice president, Distribution, Asia, Sony Pictures Entertainment.
He previously headed Sony India’s marketing activities for four years, overseeing the release of films including Spider-Man: No Way Home, Spiderman: Far From Home, Jumanji – The Next Level, Venom and Major. Prior to joining Sony, Panjikaran spent ten years in marketing at Fox Star Studios, now part of Disney India, working on releases such as Avatar, Life Of Pi and local hits Sanju and Baaghi 2.
Singh will be overseeing SPIP India’s Hindi-language film development and production slate, as well as its expansion into regional cinema, across Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam-language projects, reporting to SPIP co-heads Michael Rifkin and Shebnem Askin.
He has been with Sony India since 2014 in multiple roles across public relations, marketing and creative development, working on titles such as Piku, PadMan, 102 Not Out and Looop Lapeta, as well as leading the studio’s expansion into Malayalam and Telugu content with 9 and recent hit Major.
Also a published author and former journalist who had stints at Fox Star Studios and Disney India before joining Sony, Singh was recently involved in securing rights to superhero trilogy Shaktimaan, which is currently in development at SPIP.
Lada Guruden Singh said: “As India leads the world in entertainment, creating content in volume and quality that ranks right at the top, we are excited to give it our all to become one of the top players in the country. From tentpole hits to clutter break-through content, from stories unfolding at the margins to the celebration of Indian mythology; we want to push the boundaries and synergies with leading talent as well as with fresh new voices.”
Panjikaran said: “Sony Pictures is a global force that creates imaginative and engaging content for audiences across the world…Today, the film market in India is virtually borderless, and I’m looking forward to pioneering new initiatives and partnerships in this dynamic distribution space and to satisfy the demand for brilliant global and local stories in India.”