Film production companies in India have garnered a lot of scope in the entertainment industry over the decades. Be it the big-budget feature films that we watch at theatres or on our home TVs, or television soaps and serials, even Ad films for that matter, the companies that are behind the creation of all this are what we call them production houses or simply, film production companies.
A Brief Overview of India-Based Film Production Companies
A film production company is generally involved in the production, creation and distribution of video content for motion pictures, TV serials, web series, music videos, TV commercials, video content for online social media platforms, and several other media-related programmes. In addition, such companies also manage the pre-production, post-production and marketing operations, etc. of feature films and many programmes.
In India, there are over a hundred such production companies and film production companies, some have existed for a very long time, since the beginning of the Indian cinema in the twentieth century. Among these production companies, a lot of Bollywood cinema actors have established their own in-house film production companies. A few such popular actors include Ajay Devgan, Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan, and several others.
Moving on, this article includes a list of notable film production companies in India that have produced, while some even distribute motion pictures, and made a name for themselves in the entertainment industry.
Top 20 Film Production Companies (Production Houses) of India
Below is a non-exhaustive list (in alphabetical order) of some of the popular film production companies or production houses of India that produces big-screen feature films, small-budget films, regional languages films, TV programmes, and web series for OTT platforms.
1. Aashirvad Cinemas
Aashirvad Cinemas is one of the popular film production companies in South India. The production house which is based in Kochi, Kerala was started in 2000 by the Malayalam film actor, producer and distributor Antony Perumbavoor. The South production house also owns a subsidiary company, Maxlab Cinemas and Entertainments, which also produces and distributes motion pictures, mainly for South films.
The first Malayalam language film produced by Aashirvad Cinemas was ‘Narasimham’ in 2000, which made a success. Their ‘Drishyam (2013)’ film was also a big success and several remakes were made in different languages for both the South and Bollywood film industries.
Aashirvad Cinemas has won several awards for their films, particularly their ‘Drishyam (2013)’ film, which alone received many awards for Best Malayalam Film.
2. AVM Productions
AVM Productions is one of India’s oldest film production companies and studios. The production company was started by South film-maker A. V. Meiyappan in 1945 and is situated in Chennai (formerly Madras). AVM Productions has been producing films in Indian cinema in different South languages, a couple of Hindi films and one Bengali film, as well. In addition to this, the production company is also known for having introduced several South cinema actors and actresses into the film industry. A few of these include Kamal Hassan, Rajnikant, Vyjayanthimala, and several others.
The first Indian film produced under the AVM Productions’ banner was the Tamil film ‘Nam Iruvar (1947)’, which was well-received at that time. The company continued to produce several South films under its banner, and many were successful. The first Hindi (Bollywood) film produced by AVM Productions was ‘Bahar (1951)’, which was a remake of a successful South film and the film became one of the highest-grossing films of that year.
AVM Productions won over two dozen awards in different categories. The production company won several National Film Awards, three Filmfare Awards South, two Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, and one each for Cinema Express Awards, Cinema Fans Awards, Nandi Awards and Vijay Awards, respectively.
3. Balaji Motion Pictures
Balaji Motion Pictures is a film production and distribution company in India. The company was started in 2001 by the wife and daughter of the popular Bollywood actor Jeetendra and is situated in Mumbai. The former actor is currently the Chairman of the production company.
The first Bollywood film produced under its banner was ‘Kyo Kii… Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta (2001)’, although the film wasn’t a success. A few popular Bollywood films that were produced by Balaji Motion Pictures are ‘Kyaa Kool Hai Hum (2005)’, ‘Shootout at Lokhandwala (2007)’, ‘Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai (2010)’, ‘Ragini MMS (2011)’, ‘Kyaa Super Kool Hai Hum (2012)’, ‘Dream Girl (2019)’, ‘Pagglait (2021)’, and many more. The production company also produces South cinema films, with their first South film in Marathi titled ‘Taryanche Bait (2011)’, which became a success and won awards.
Balaji Motion Pictures is a subsidiary of Balaji Telefilms that mainly produces TV serials. The production company won several awards in different categories, including Filmfare Awards.
4. DAR Motion Pictures
DAR Motion Pictures is a film production and distribution company in India that was started by film directors Anurag Kashyap, Nikhil Advani and Ritesh Batra, and with the partnership of Sikhya Entertainment company, which is also an India-based film production and distribution company. The production company was started in 2009 and is based in Mumbai.
The production company produced its first Bollywood film ‘City of Gold (2010)’ which also has a Marathi-language film. The company also produced a 3D Hindi film titled ‘Haunted – 3D (2012)’, and several others, like ‘D-Day (2013)’, ‘The Lunch Box (2013)’, ‘Monsoon Shootout (2017)’, ‘Bucket List (2018)’, ‘Photograph (2019)’, and many more.
In addition to producing and releasing Bollywood films in Indian cinema, DAR Motion Pictures also distributed Hollywood films, including ‘The Dark Knight (2012)’ and ‘Fast & Furious 6 (2013)’.
5. Dev Entertainment Ventures
Dev Entertainment Ventures is a popular Bengali regional film production and distribution company, which is situated in Kolkata, India. The production company was started in 2017 by a leading Bengali film actor, singer and filmmaker Deepak Adhikari who calls himself Dev in the film industry, along with his father, Gurupada Adhikari.
The production company is believed to be a breakthrough for new artists in the Bengali film industry. The first Bengali film produced under its banner was ‘Chaamp (2017)’ and the film turned out to be a blockbuster. The company produced the next Bengali film ‘Cockpit (2017)’ starring the actor himself and the film was well-received. A couple more films were produced under the production company’s banner, which includes ‘Kabir (2018)’, ‘Password (2019)’, ‘Tonic (2021)’ and several others.
Many of the Bengali regional films produced and released by Dev Entertainment Ventures were well-received.
6. Dharma Productions
Dharma Productions is one of India’s oldest film production and distribution companies situated in Mumbai. The production company was started by Bollywood film producer Yash Johar in 1979, but after his passing, his son Karan Johar, also a film producer now manages the company.
The first Hindi film produced under the banner of Dharma Productions was ‘Dostana (1980)’ which starred Bollywood’s popular actor Amitabh Bachchan alongside notable actors, like Helen, Zeenat Aman, Shatrughan Sinha, Amrish Puri, Prem Chopra and several others. The film became a success and had a Tamil-language remake titled ‘Sattam (1983)’ starring South India’s popular actor Kamal Hassan. A few other Bollywood films produced by Dharma Productions are ‘Agneepath (1990)’, ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)’, ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… (2001)’, ‘Agneepath (2012)’, ‘Student of the Year (2012)’, and many more.
Dharma Productions won several awards for most of their Hindi films.
7. Emmay Entertainment and Motion Pictures LLP
Emmay Entertainment and Motion Pictures is an Indian film production company situated in Mumbai. The production company was started in 2011 by Bollywood film director Nikhil Advani along with his sister Monisha Advani and their friend Madhu Bhojwani.
The production company produced their first Bollywood film titled ‘D-Day (2013)’ which was well-received. Their next Hindi film ‘Airlift (2016)’ was also a success in the Indian film industry. A few other Bollywood films produced under their banner are ‘Hero (2015)’, ‘Lucknow Central (2017)’, ‘Satyameva Jayate (2018)’, ‘Batla House (2019)’, ‘Satyameva Jayate 2 (2021)’, and many more.
Emmay Entertainment and Motion Pictures company produced several award-winning Bollywood films in Indian cinema, while a few were also moderately successful.
8. Eros International
Eros International film production and distribution company was started in 1977 by Arjan Lulla and is based in Mumbai. The company had its name changed several times in the past years before finally settling with the name it’s now called, “Eros”.
The company produced and distributed a lot of Bollywood films, and several films in different Indian languages, as well. A number of films received awards in various categories. A few such notable awards include Star Screen Awards, Stardust Awards, Filmfare Awards, Sony Guild Awards and ETC Bollywood Business Awards.
Eros International produced and released Bollywood films, like ‘Bajirao Mastani (2015)’, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015)’, ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015)’, ‘Badlapur (2015)’, and many more.
9. Excel Entertainment
Excel Entertainment is a film production company situated in Mumbai. The production company was started in 1999 by Farhan Akhtar, son of Javed Akhtar, and Ritesh Sidhwani, who is also a film producer.
The production company produced several award-winning Hindi films in the Bollywood industry under its banner. Their first Hindi film was ‘Dil Chahta Hai (2001)’ which became a success and also received the National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards. A few other Hindi films produced by Excel Entertainment are ‘Lakshya (2004)’, ‘Don (2006)’, ‘Rock On!! (2008)’, ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)’, ‘Don 2 (2011)’, ‘Dil Dhadakne Do (2015)’, ‘Gully Boy (2018)’, and many more.
Excel Entertainment production company also produces television and web series under its banner.
10. Fox Star Studios
Fox Star Studios is a film production and distribution company and a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company India. The production company was started in 2008 in a joint venture between the 20th Century Fox and Star India and is situated in Mumbai. The company has partnered with other film production companies both in India and other countries to produce Hindi language films, various South Indian language films as well as a couple of South Asian language films.
The first film produced under the banner of Fox Star Studios and in partnership with another film production company, Phat Phish Motion Pictures was ‘Quick Gun Murugun (2009)’, which was in the English language. A few other films in Indian cinema that were produced and co-produced by Fox Star Studios are ‘My Name is Khan (2010)’, ‘Ekk Deewana Tha (2012)’, ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola (2013)’, ‘Humshakals (2014)’, and many more.
11. Geetha Arts
Geetha Arts is a film production and distribution company situated in Hyderabad, India. The production company was started in 1972 by Telugu film producer and distributor Allu Aravind, who is the son of popular Telugu actor Allu Ramalingaiah. Prior to the production company changing its name, it used to be known by other names, like Geetha Art Productions, Geetha Cine Enterprises and Geetha Creative Arts. The company produces Indian films in different languages, such as Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and Hindi.
The first film produced by Geetha Arts was ‘Bantrotu Bharya (1974)’, a Telugu language film. The production company produced under its banner the first Hindi film ‘Pratibandh (1990)’ which was well-received. A few other Bollywood films produced and co-produced by Geetha Arts are ‘The Gentleman (1994)’, ‘Kunwara (2000)’, ‘Kya Yehi Pyaar Hai (2002)’, and ‘Ghajini (2008)’.
Geetha Arts has distributed more than 300 Indian films in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and English languages under its subsidiary banner Geetha Film Distributors.
12. Mukta Arts
Mukta Arts is one of India’s popular and oldest film production and distribution companies situated in Mumbai. The company was started as Mukta Films in 1978 by the notable Hindi film-maker Subhash Ghai. However, a couple of years later, in 1982, filmmaker Subhash Ghai decided to start a new company which he named Mukta Arts.
Mukta Films produced the first Bollywood film ‘Karz (1980)’ under its banner. After filmmaker Subhash Ghai formed his separate company, Mukta Arts, the first Hindi film he produced and released was ‘Hero (1983)’, which was a success. A few other well-received Bollywood films under the Mukta Arts banner were ‘Karma (1986)’, ‘Ram Lakhan (1989)’, ‘Khalnayak (1993)’, ‘Pardes (1997)’, ‘Taal (1999)’, and many more.
The company also started producing and releasing TV serials, web series and documentary films in India.
13. Rajshri Productions
Rajshri Productions is one of India’s oldest film production and distribution companies situated in Mumbai. The company was started by film producer Tarachand Barjatya in 1947. The company has produced and released numerous Bollywood films, many of which have also received awards.
The first Hindi film produced by Rajshri Productions was ‘Aarti (1962)’ and the film was received well. The production house’s next film ‘Dosti (1964)’ also became a success and won several awards. The company continued to make successful Bollywood films since the 1960s and to this day.
A few popular Bollywood blockbuster films produced by Rajshri Productions are ‘Maine Pyar Kiya (1989)’, ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994)’, ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain (1999)’, and many more.
14. Riverbank Studios
Riverbank Studios is an Indian film production company which is situated in New Delhi. The production company was started in 1973 by filmmaker Mike Pandey. This is his independent film production company which does not produce Bollywood films, rather his company is focused on producing documentary films.
The filmmaker is also a conservationist, which may be why he chose to make educational documentary films about wildlife and create awareness among people. Riverbank Studios produces feature films, TV series and Ad films which are often broadcast on various TV channels, like Doordarshan, Animal Planet India, Discovery India, and various other channels.
Riverbank Studios produced and co-produced various award-winning documentary films over the years and continues to do so even to this day. The production company’s first film was ‘The Last Migration (1994)’. The company produced a TV series titled ‘Earth Matters (1999 – 2014)’ which was broadcast on Doordarshan National Channel. A few other documentary films produced under the banner of Riverbank Studios are ‘Shores of Silence (2004)’, ‘Ghar Ka Chirag TV Series (2006 – 2009)’, ‘Arts & Crafts of Rajasthan (2013)’, ‘High Altitude Lakes (2015)’, ‘Looking for Sultan (2017)’, and many more.
T-Series is one of India’s popular film production and music record label company based in Mumbai. The company was started by Gulshan Kumar in 1983. Under its banner, the company produced several Bollywood films in the early 1990s.
The first Bollywood film produced by T-Series was ‘Aashiqui (1990)’. The film was received well. Another well-received Hindi film was ‘Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin (1991)’.
T-Series still continues to produce and distribute Bollywood films and soundtracks under its label.
16. Tips Industries
Tips Industries is a popular film production, distribution and promotion company started in 1975 by the Taurani brothers and based in Mumbai. Tips is also a major music record label company in India. The company began its film production and release operations in the 1990s and its business is still active today.
The company produced dozens of Bollywood films, with their first film being ‘Tadipaar (1993)’. A few other films that were produced by Tips Industries include ‘Coolie No. 1 (1995)’, ‘Haqeeqat (1995)’, ‘Raja Hindustani (1996)’, ‘The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002)’, and many more.
Tips Industries has produced many top-grossing Bollywood films in Indian cinema, while also releasing soundtracks for Hindi films and a few more in different regional languages.
17. Viacom18 Motion Pictures
Viacom18 Studios is a film production, marketing and distribution company started in 2006 and is a subsidiary of Viacom18. The first Bollywood film produced by the company was ‘Singh is Kinng (2008)’, followed by ‘London Dreams (2009)’, ‘Tanu Weds Manu (2009)’, ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama (2009)’, ‘Kahaani (2012)’, ‘Gangs of Wasseypur 1 & 2 (2012)’, ‘Mary Kom (2014)’, ‘Drishyam (2015)’, and several others. In addition to films, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures company also produced a web series titled ‘Ray (2021)’, which is aired on Netflix.
The production company has so far produced and released dozens of Bollywood films under its banner, many of which made a success in Indian cinema.
18. Vishesh Films
Vishesh Films is another popular film production company situated in Mumbai. The company was started in 1986 by Vishesh Bhatt and co-founded by his father Mukesh Bhatt, who is an actor-turned-producer in Bollywood cinema.
The company produced and released its first film ‘Kabzaa (1988)’. In the early years, the company’s production of the Hindi film ‘Aashiqui (1990)’ and its soundtracks became a big success. Their other top-grossing Hindi films in the 2000s include ‘Aashiqui 2 (2013)’, ‘Jannat 2 (2012)’, ‘Murder 2 (2011)’, and more.
19. Yash Raj Films
Yash Raj Films is a popular film production and distribution company in India and also one of the largest in the country. The company was started by the notable film-maker Yash Raj Chopra in 1970 and is situated in Mumbai. After the passing of Yash Raj Chopra in 2012, the company’s management was given to his son Aditya Chopra.
The production company released its first Bollywood film ‘Daag: A Poem of Love (1973)’ under its banner. It then went on to release several more Hindi films, including ‘Kabhie Kabhie (1976)’, ‘Kaala Pathar (1979)’, ‘Chandni (1989)’, ‘Darr (1993)’, ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)’, ‘Dil To Pagal Hai (1997)’, ‘Mujhse Dosti Karoge! (2002)’, and many more.
Many Bollywood films which were produced and released by Yash Raj Films became successful and were the top-grossing films of their times.
20. Zee Studios
Zee Studios is a popular Indian film production and distribution company based in Mumbai. The company was started in 2012 as a subsidiary of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited. Prior to producing and/or releasing Bollywood films under the Zee Studios banner, a few films were produced and distributed by Zee Telefilms, Zee TV, Zee Cinema, Zee Motion Pictures and Zee Limelight, respectively.
The first Bollywood film to have been released under the banner of Zee Studios was ‘Jazbaa (2015)’. The film was a success and received awards in different categories. The company produced and released several more Hindi films, including ‘Rustom (2016)’, ‘Dhadak (2018)’, ‘Zero (2018)’, and many more.
Cinema is a means of entertainment that is enjoyed by people of all ages and walks of life. The Indian cinema industry has taken the world by storm with its popularity in Bollywood films, and many Indian regional languages films, which are noted for their musical feature films.
India’s film production companies bring to their audience different genres of entertainment feature films, with some even grossing on top charts and winning awards as we’ve already seen a couple of the above.