Netflix said on Wednesday it will roll out 41 Indian films and shows this year, its biggest annual roster of Indian content to date, as the American giant makes a further push to win subscribers in the world’s second-largest internet market.
The streaming giant, which committed to spending about $420 million on locally produced Indian content in 2021 and 2022, is this year spending significantly more on the new Indian catalog, which is three times larger than the past two years combined.
The new titles feature high-profile Indian actors and directors, including Madhuri Dixit, Karan Johar, Manoj Bajpayee, R. Madhavan, Raveena Tandon, Neena Gupta and Dhanush.
The new roster includes “Bombay Begums,” which follows the stories of five women across generations wrestling with desire, ethics and personal crises; “Decoupled,” a comedy by writer Manu Joseph on India and marriage; and a second season of Emmy-winning drama “Delhi Crime.”
Also in the list are comedy specials that have become immensely popular on streaming services in India. Netflix said comedians including Sumukhi Suresh, Aakaash Gupta, Rahul Dua and Prashasti Singh — all of whom have participated in comedy shows by Amazon Prime Video — will have shows on the streaming service this year.
“Kota Factory” (a still from which is pictured above), a show that debuted on YouTube about a group of students preparing to compete to get into the prestigious engineering colleges, will stream its second season on Netflix later this year. The Viral Fever, the producer of the show, had collaborated with Indian edtech startup Unacademy, for the first season of the show.
Dice Media’s “Little Things”, which also began its life as native advertisement for a few firms but has since grown into its own show, is getting a fourth season this year.
“Our upcoming lineup features more variety and diversity than we have seen before. From the biggest films and series, to gripping documentaries and reality, and bold comedy formats. We are taking our next big leap in India to bring you more than 40 powerful and irresistible stories from all corners of the country,” said Monika Shergill, vice president of Content at Netflix India.
“This is just a taste of the films and series to come. We are so excited to share these rich and diverse stories from the best and brightest creators and talent from India to the world,” said Shergill.
Netflix’s growing catalog in India comes as Bollywood, which churns out more movies than any other film industry, struggles to deliver big hits as theatres across the country report low footfall amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, the Indian film industry began releasing some movies directly on streaming services, even as some key players are still resisting the idea.
“The category classification of a content will take into account the potentially offensive impact of a film on matters such as caste, race, gender, religion, disability or sexuality that may arise in a wide range of works, and the classification decision will take account of the strength or impact of their inclusion,” the new rules state.
Amazon issued a rare apology to viewers in India on Tuesday after some people — including lawmakers with governing Bhartiya Janata Party — objected to some scenes from its political mini-series “Tandav.” Netflix, itself, has faced some heat, too. A police case was filed against two top executives of Netflix, including Shergill, after some people objected to scenes of the show “A Suitable Boy.”
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