Amazon Boosts India Slate By Landing Exclusive Rights To Six Local Features
Following yesterday’s news that Amazon Prime Video India had made its biggest direct-to-service movie acquisition with the Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana comedy Gulabo Sitabo, the streamer has unveiled a further six local titles that will debut exclusively on the platform.
The six movies all would have been theatrical releases, were it not for the ongoing cinema closures in India due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, Amazon has stepped in to give them a home, and will premiere each title on its platform in 200 countries over the next three months.
The films span five Indian languages. They include Anu Menon’s mathematician biopic Shakuntala Devi starring Vidya Balan (Dirty Picture, Kahaani) and produced by Abundantia Entertainment, legal drama Ponmagal Vandhal starring Jyothika (Chandramukhi), and Penguin starring Keerthy Suresh (Mahanati).
Last month, Deadline interviewed Shakuntala Devi producer Vikram Malhotra about how the Indian market is coping with the pandemic, during which he revealed the biopic was being pushed from its original theatrical date in June.
India is a major target market for streamers due to factors including its enormous population and high internet penetration. Disney Plus Hotstar is currently the leading streamer in the country, with more than 300 million users and north of eight million subscribers. Amazon and Netflix have also looked to establish strong footing in the market in recent years and have been ramping up spend on acquiring content and producing originals in India.
“Over the last two years, Prime Video has become the destination of choice for our customers to watch new releases, across languages, within weeks of their theatrical release,” said Vijay Subramaniam, Director and Head, Content, Amazon Prime Video, India. “Now we’re taking this one step further, with seven of India’s most anticipated films premiering exclusively on Prime Video, bringing the cinematic experience to their doorstep.”
“Prime Video with its deep penetration in India, with viewership across over 4,000 Towns and Cities, and its world-wide reach in more than 200 countries and territories, will give a large global release footprint to these films,” added Gaurav Gandhi, Director and Country General Manager, Amazon Prime Video India.
The newly-acquired titles are:
Ponmagal Vandhal (Tamil). A legal drama starring Jyothika, Parthiban, Bhagyaraj, Prathap Pothen and Pandiarajan, Ponmagal Vandhal. The movie is written and directed by J.J. Fredrick and produced by Suriya and Rajsekar Karpoorasundarapandian. Premiering May 29.
Penguin (Tamil and Telugu). Starring Keerthy Suresh. Written and directed by Eshavar Karthic. Produced by Stone Bench Films and Karthik Subbaraj. Premiering June 19.
Law (Kannada). Starromg Ragini Chandran, Siri Prahlad and veteran actor Mukhyamantri Chandru. Written and directed by Raghu Samarth and produced by Ashwini and Puneeth Rajkumar. Premiering June 26.
French Biryani (Kannada). Featuring actors Danish Sait, Sal Yusuf and Pitobash as leads. Written by Avinash Balekkala, directed by Pannaga Bharana and produced by Ashwini and Puneeth Rajkumar and Gurudutt A Talwar. Premiering July 24.
Shakuntala Devi (Hindi). Featuring Vidya Balan in the lead, the film is a biographical drama about the extraordinary life of the titular mathematics genius, writer and astrologer who was popularly known as the ‘human computer’. Also featuring Sanya Malhotra and directed by Anu Menon, the film is produced by Sony Pictures Networks Productions and Vikram Malhotra. Release date TBA.
Sufiyum Sujatayum (Malayalam). Starring Aditi Rao Hydari and Jayasuruya. The film is written and directed by Naranipuzha Shanavas and produced by Vijay Babu’s Friday Film House. Release date TBA.
Gulabo Sitabo will premiere on the steamer on June 12.