Amazon Prime Video has tied up with Salman Khan to stream his recent release Tubelight, his subsequent films, and his previous hits such as Kick, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Jai Ho.
Buoyed by the success of its first Indian original series Inside Edge, the global streaming service will also proceed with the rest of the 17 series planned for Indian viewers. First off is likely to be Breathe, starring Madhavan and Amit Sadh, produced by Abundatia Entertainment and directed by debutant filmmaker Mayank Sharma.
Amazon Video India director and country head Nitesh Kripalani told Scroll.in, “Inside Edge is the number one title on the service. Fifty per cent of our customers have already seen it.”
The sports thriller about cricket, Bollywood and crime stars Richa Chadda, Vivek Oberoi, Tanuj Virwani, Amit Sial and Angad Bedi. “It is the most binge-watched show among every other Amazon original in India,” Kriplani claimed. “It has an IMDb rating of 8.3 and has the highest completion rate.” (This means that once a person starts to watch Inside Edge, it is most likely that the person will finish watching it.)
Other upcoming series include the political satire The Ministry by All India Bakchod, The Family Man by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, and productions by Phantom Films and Excel Entertainment.
Amazon Prime Video offers a whole list of American and British television shows and Hollywood and Indian films. The streaming service has a distribution deal with leading Hindi film studio T-Series to host its production before they are shown on television. The service also has originals by 14 Indian stand-up comics.
“We are focusing on all audiences and not positioning ourselves as indie or mainstream,” Kriplani said when asked if Amazon Prime Video sees itself as the hub for mainstream material while its rival Netflix targets indie releases and documentaries.
However, the experience has not really been wholesome for some Indian viewers, who have complained on social media platforms that international shows and movies are heavily censored.
For example, the fourth episode of the series The Grand Tour has been edited to almost half its length because it featured a car made of animal carcasses. A number of television shows and films, including Watchmen and even The Godfather, has nude scenes blurred despite the lack of a directive issued by the Information and Broadcasting ministry regarding internet content.
Kripalani attributes their decision to respecting “cultural sensitivities.” He said, “We have a responsibility to our investment in India.”
Keeping in line with that sentiment, Amazon Prime Video offers two versions of the Starz series American Gods to its audience, one being the censored version and the other being the international release. Why can’t that method be applied to every show or movie that is possibly offensive in India? “But doing that [offering two versions] can confuse the audience,” Kripalani said. “Anything is possible. With the technology available, it can be done, of course.”