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Exciting New OTT Releases This Week

This week, streaming platforms are packed up with exciting OTT titles, ranging from S.S. Rajamouli’s animated series ‘Baahubali: Crown of Blood’ to the Adah Sharma-starring political thriller ‘Bastar: The Naxal Story’, and the rib-tickling journey of bromance ‘Namacool’.

Here is a list of five titles that have caught the attention this week:

‘Bridgerton Season 3’:

The eight close-knit siblings of the Bridgerton family look for love and happiness in London high society. It is inspired by Julia Quinn’s bestselling novels. In the third season, Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) finally gives up on her long-held crush on Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) after hearing his disparaging remarks about her last season.

The showrunner is Jess Brownell, and it stars Victor Alli, Adjoa Andoh, Lorraine Ashbourne, Simone Ashley, Jonathan Bailey, Joanna Bobin, Harriet Cains, and Bessie Carter, among others.

It is now streaming on Netflix.

‘Baahubali: Crown of Blood’:

It shows Baahubali and Bhallaladeva joining hands to protect the kingdom of Mahishmati and the throne from the warlord Raktadeva. Directed by Jeevan J. Kang and Navin John, the series promises to take the audience into an animated world of Baahubali, showcasing epic adventure, brotherhood, betrayal, and conflict.

Produced by Graphic India and Arka Mediaworks, with Rajamouli, Sharad Devarajan, and Shobu Yarlagadda, ‘Baahubali: Crown of Blood’ drops on Disney+ Hotstar on May 17.

‘Bastar: The Naxal Story’:

The political thriller film, directed by Sudipto Sen and produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah, stars Adah, Indira Tiwari, Vijay Krishna, Shilpa Shukla, Yashpal Sharma, Subrat Dutta, and Raima Sen. It is based on the Naxalite-Maoist insurgency in the Bastar district of Chhattisgarh.

It will premiere on May 17 on Zee5.

‘Namacool’:

Hina Khan, Abhinav Sharma, and Aaron Koul-starrer ‘Namacool’ revolves around two inseparable friends, Mayank and Piyush, and the true definition of manhood.

Directed by Ritam Srivastava and written by Shantanu Srivastava, this seven-episode series also features Abhishek Bajaj, Anushka Kaushik, Faisal Malik, and Aadil Khan in pivotal roles.

Produced by Reliance Entertainment Studios, ‘Namacool’ will premiere on May 17 on Amazon miniTV.

‘Thelma the Unicorn’:

The American animated musical adventure comedy movie is a quirky, hilarious, and heartfelt ride from directors Jared Hess and Lynn Wang. Thelma is a small-time pony who dreams of becoming a glamorous music star. In a pink and glitter-filled moment of fate, Thelma is transformed into a unicorn and instantly rises to global stardom. But this new life of fame comes at a cost.

It stars the voices of Brittany Howard, Will Forte, Jemaine Clement, Edi Patterson, Fred Armisen, Zach Galifianakis, Jon Heder, and Shondrella Avery.

The film will be released on May 17 on Netflix.

ALSO READ-Must-Watch OTT Releases: From Drama to Comedy

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Films Lite Blogs

Must-Watch OTT Releases: From Drama to Comedy

Sonali Bendre, Jaideep Ahlawat, and Shriya Pilgaonkar-starrer ‘The Broken News 2’ will capture the fictional lives, lies, loves, and struggles of journalists and their battle between truth and sensationalism…reports Asian Lite News

OTT titles like ‘The Broken News 2’, ‘Manjummel Boys’, and ‘Super Rich in Korea’ across various streaming platforms are guaranteed to keep you glued to your screen all week long and will leave you eagerly awaiting the next episode.

Here’s a list of five titles that have caught the attention of OTT fans:

‘A Man in Full’:

The American drama stars Jeff Daniels and Diane Lane. Directed by Regina King and Thomas Schlamme, it is based on Tom Wolfe’s novel of the same name. When Atlanta real estate mogul Charlie Croker (Jeff) faces sudden bankruptcy, political and business interests collide as Charlie defends his empire from those attempting to capitalise on his fall from grace.

The six-episode series is set to premiere on May 2 on Netflix.

‘The Broken News’ season 2:

Sonali Bendre, Jaideep Ahlawat, and Shriya Pilgaonkar-starrer ‘The Broken News 2’ will capture the fictional lives, lies, loves, and struggles of journalists and their battle between truth and sensationalism.

Returning after a two-year gap, the new season will see the fight for ideologies between the two broadcast news channels, ‘Josh 24×7’ and ‘Awaz Bharti’, scale new heights.

The show, based on the BBC Studios format ‘Press’, is directed by Vinay Waikul and written by Sambit Mishra.

It will air from May 3 on ZEE5.

‘Unfrosted’:

The American comedy film directed by Jerry Seinfeld stars Jerry Seinfeld, Melissa McCarthy, Jim Gaffigan, Hugh Grant, and Amy Schumer.

Kellogg’s and Post, sworn cereal rivals, race to create a pastry that will change the face of breakfast forever. A tale of ambition, betrayal, sugar, and menacing milkmen, ‘Unfrosted’ is set to air on May 3 on Netflix.

‘Manjummel Boys’:

The Malayalam survival thriller film written and directed by Chidambaram stars Soubin Shahir, Sreenath Bhasi, Balu Varghese, Ganapathi S. Poduval, Lal Jr., Deepak Parambol, and others.

Based on true events, the film revolves around a group of friends from a small town, Manjummel, who decide to have a vacation in Kodaikanal.

It will stream from May 5 in Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada on Disney+Hotstar.

‘Super Rich in Korea’:

The unscripted series follows the remarkable real-life stories of multibillionaires living in ultimate luxury. A Singaporean chaebol billionaire, an heir to an Italian luxury brand, a Pakistani noble family member, the Kim Kardashian of the Arab world with 50 million followers, and a Paris Hilton-esque shopaholic — they all have the means to live anywhere in the world, but they love Korea and chose to call it home.

The reality series starring Cho Sae-ho, BamBam, and Mimi peeks into the extravagant lives of the extremely wealthy in Korea.

It will stream from May 7 on Netflix.

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Malayalam Cinema’s Unique Journey Amid OTT Landscape

The actor added: “Our model is not that, we need to finish the film and release the film to demonstrate its potential before it gains traction on OTT platforms…reports Asian Lite News

Malayalam star Fahadh Faasil, acclaimed for his recent release ‘Aavesham’, has chalked out the line of difference between Malayalam cinema and the rest of Indian cinema.

The actor, renowned for his roles in ‘Kumbalangi Nights’, ‘Maheshinte Prathikaaram’, ‘Malik’, ‘Joji’, and others, highlighted that Malayalam cinema still lacks substantial support from OTT platforms.

In a conversation with the YouTube channel Galatta Plus, Fahadh said: “The trade has grown for Malayalam cinema, but our cinema even now doesn’t have a solid back-up of an online streaming platform. We need to prove our mettle in theatres for any of these things to come in. Unlike the rest of India, where almost 80 per cent of films are sold even before the shoot is started, things are different for us.”

The actor added: “Our model is not that, we need to finish the film and release the film to demonstrate its potential before it gains traction on OTT platforms. This approach has influenced our industry’s cinematic culture, emphasising the importance of crafting compelling stories and producing quality content.”

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Suchitra: OTT Platforms Have Opened New Doors

Back to the music scene after five years, the singer whose first album ‘Dole Dole’ hit the market in 1995 confesses she misses doing more music…writes Sukant Deepak

It was at a family dinner when her sister Sunita Nagarajan sang a melody that she had composed. That very moment, singer and actor Suchitra Krishnamoorthi knew that she would record the song as a single for herself. And ‘Shararat’ was born.

“I had been looking for the right vehicle to move into a more mature genre of music for a while, and this was perfect. ‘Shararat’ is Ghazal Pop — A blend of ghazal, so far unexplored by me, and pop which has been my forte through the years,” she tells IANS.

All praise for Mayur Puri (‘Chutki Bhar Sindoor’, Om Shanti Om), who wrote the lyrics for the single, Krishnamoorthi recalls listeners being stunned by the quality of poetry.
 
Back to the music scene after five years, the singer whose first album ‘Dole Dole’ hit the market in 1995 confesses she misses doing more music. 

“I hope to come out with more music this year onwards. I am quite laid back and must be creatively fired before committing to something. That is the only reason for my long absences,” says the artist who also has albums like ‘Dum Tara’ and ‘A-Ha’ to her credit.

An actor, model, writer, and singer, who has been seen in around 15 Hindi and South Indian films, she stresses that her core competence is music. 

“It is what everybody from my childhood remembers me as — the singer who was always belting out songs on stage. Modelling and acting happened automatically considering the way I looked. I was a cute-looking teen I guess, so offers fell in my lap and I started enjoying facing the camera. When one is so young , adulation and fame can be heady,” she smiles. 

Recently seen in the film ‘Odd Couple’ and ‘Guilty Minds’ on different digital platforms, she feels OTT has changed the game completely with more stories, opportunities, and variety. 

“In the past, people told women that their career was over once they hit the age of 30. That has been toppled now — look at Shefali Shah and Neena Gupta — they are thriving today. As far as my work for OTT is concerned, I am very critical of myself and never feel I have done good enough. There is always a feeling — maybe I am looking fat, or I could have said that line better or done it differently perhaps — appreciation from the audience and fraternity is a big confidence booster,” says the singer-actor who started her TV career with the series ‘Chaunati’ while still in school in the year 1987–1988.
 
Much in news over her comments on the casting couch, she feels it still exists to a large extent for those starting out. 

However, the moral connotation has changed — it is now more a barter. 

“It all depends on the persons involved. The casting couch exists in all industries — even the corporate world. It is a power game too. I must add that things are definitely more professional now — more organised, more regulated. Opportunities are always available to the talented and resilient ones.”

“No one needs to submit to the casting couch unless they are doing it for their own benefit. No one can force anybody to do anything — unlike in the past when everything was under the carpet and hush hush — in today’s world one can just record an incident secretly and put out a tweet etc to expose the offender. 

“The fear of shame and scandal keeps the unscrupulous in check to a large extent. It is a safer world today,” she feels.  

The artist, who lost her mother recently now wants to disappear for a few weeks out of town, and cut herself  from the world. “And return healed and rejuvenated,” she concludes.

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Action-Packed Entertainment Continues on OTT

The action-packed crime drama ‘Rana Naidu’, is created and directed by Karan Anshuman and Suparn Verma. This thrilling series features a stellar cast including Venkatesh Daggubati, Rana Daggubati, Suchitra Pillai, Gaurav Chopra, and Surveen Chawla…reports Asian Lite News

The Shah Rukh Khan-starrer ‘Jawan’ roared onto the big screen on Janmashtami, reaffirming the Bollywood superstar’s status as the ultimate entertainer. This action-packed thriller has set hearts racing and tongues wagging, earning praise from both critics and fans for its unadulterated dose of entertainment.

The narrative centres on a man compelled by a deep personal vendetta to right the societal wrongs of the past, all while honouring a promise made years ago. His path intersects with a formidable outlaw devoid of fear, responsible for inflicting severe suffering upon many. With a stellar cast including SRK, Nayanthara and Vijay Sethupathi in pivotal roles, and masterfully directed by Atlee, ‘Jawan’ is currently setting theaters ablaze.

But the excitement doesn’t end there.

If ‘Jawan’ left you craving more adrenaline-pumping action, you’re in for a treat. Here is a list of action-packed dramas on OTT platforms that promise to deliver the same heart-pounding excitement and gripping narratives.

‘Mission Majnu’:

Step back in time to the 1970s with ‘Mission Majnu’. Amandeep Singh, an undercover Indian spy, must expose Pakistan’s covert nuclear weapons test to clear his name and protect his family. While leading a seemingly ordinary life in Pakistan with his blind wife, Nasreen, and an unborn child, Amandeep’s mission becomes critical amid the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

Starring Sidharth Malhotra and supported by Rashmika Mandanna, Parmeet Sethi, Sharib Hashmi, Kumud Mishra, and Rajit Kapur, ‘Mission Majnu’ is a gripping action thriller that unfolds against the backdrop of espionage, war, and personal sacrifice. This is a must-see film that keeps you on the edge of your seat as Amandeep races against time to prevent an attack on the wrong target and secure his nation’s safety. It is streaming on Netflix.

‘Bloody Daddy’:

The gripping thriller, directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, is co-written by Aditya Basu and Siddharth-Garima, and stars Shahid Kapoor, Sanjay Kapoor, Diana Penty, Ronit Roy, Rajeev Khandelwal, Ankur Bhatia, and Vivan Bhatena. Adapted from the 2011 French hit ‘Sleepless Night,’ it delivers heart-pounding excitement. The story follows Sumair (Shahid Kapoor), an undercover cop who faces a perilous choice after busting a drug ring in Gurugram. Blackmailed by the ruthless drug lord Sikander (Ronit Roy) who kidnaps his son, Sumair takes on cops and criminals alike to protect his family. ‘Bloody Daddy’ is streaming on Jio Cinema.

‘Bholaa’:

The pulse-pounding journey ‘Bholaa’, is about an ex-convict, Bholaa, who strives to reunite with his daughter after his prison release. However, a meticulously planned drug bust derails his plans, setting him on an extraordinary and perilous path. Faced with unusual challenges and danger at every turn, Bholaa’s mission is far from simple. This action-packed thriller, a remake of the acclaimed 2019 Tamil film ‘Kaithi,’ features Ajay Devgn in the titular role, supported by an exceptional cast including Tabu, Deepak Dobriyal, Sanjay Mishra, Gajraj Rao, and Vineet Kumar. ‘Bholaa’ is streaming on Prime Video.

‘Rana Naidu’:

The action-packed crime drama ‘Rana Naidu’, is created and directed by Karan Anshuman and Suparn Verma. This thrilling series features a stellar cast including Venkatesh Daggubati, Rana Daggubati, Suchitra Pillai, Gaurav Chopra, and Surveen Chawla. Rana Naidu, the ‘fixer of the stars,’ specialises in cleaning up the messes left behind by his high-profile clients. While he excels at solving others’ problems, his own life is in disarray. The series delves into the complexities of Rana’s personal and professional struggles, with the unexpected return of his estranged father, Naga Naidu, after 15 years of wrongful imprisonment. As family ties are tested, and vengeance looms, ‘Rana Naidu’ is an unmissable action thriller that keeps you hooked with its intense storyline and powerful performances. It is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

‘Mukkebaaz’:

The gripping audio series ‘Mukkebaaz’ follows the riveting journey of Zoravar, a young man whose life shatters when his family is brutally murdered. Fueled by grief and armed with the mystical Neel Mani, he transforms into a formidable boxer with supernatural abilities. This action-packed drama delves into the gritty world of underground boxing while unraveling the secrets behind his family’s tragedy. But ‘Mukkebaaz’ isn’t just about vengeance; it’s a tale of personal growth, forgiveness, and discovering true strength. Zoravar’s quest evolves into a profound exploration of resilience and the human spirit. In a world where redemption goes beyond revenge, this must-listen series keeps you on the edge of your seat, reminding us that true power lies within. It is available on Pocket FM.

‘Kuttey’:

On a rainy night in the outskirts of Mumbai, three disparate gangs converge, all chasing the same prize: a van loaded with crores of cash. As the tension mounts, it becomes a battle of wits and survival. Will they satisfy their hunger for riches, or will greed be their undoing? With an ensemble cast featuring Tabu, Arjun Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah, Radhika Madan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kumud Mishra, and Shardul Bhardwaj, ‘Kuttey’ is a must-watch action thriller that weaves a complex web of subplots, blending tension and humor in an unpredictable chain of events. It is streaming on Netflix.

‘The Freelancer’:

Created and written by Neeraj Pandey, and directed by Bhav Dhulia, this action-packed series boasts a stellar cast including Mohit Raina, Anupam Kher, Kashmira Pardeshi, Navneet Malik, Manjari Fadnis, and more. Adapted from Shirish Thorat’s ‘A Ticket to Syria,’ the show centers on Avinash Kamath (Mohit), a former police officer turned freelancer. He embarks on a perilous rescue mission to retrieve Aliya Khan (Kashmira), a young girl held captive in war-torn Syria. As Avinash navigates the treacherous terrain, ‘The Freelancer’ unfolds as a must-watch action thriller, filled with suspense, danger, and a race against time to bring Aliya safely back to India. It is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

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Global OTT Video Users to Reach 4.2B by 2027

OTT has taken the video market by storm and will continue to grow in the future….reports Asian Lite News

The global over-the-top (OTT) video market is expected to hit 4.2 billion users with an impressive 53 per cent penetration rate by 2027, a report showed on Wednesday.

Over the past five years, the number of users in the over-the-top video segment has jumped by 45 per cent, rising from 2.4 billion in 2018 to 3.5 billion in 2023, according to data presented by OnlyAccounts.io.

OTT has taken the video market by storm and will continue to grow in the future.

According to Statista Market Insights, in 2018, around 2.4 billion people worldwide used OTT video services. In the next two years, this figure jumped to over 3 billion.

The impressive user growth continued in 2021, with another 300 million people entering the market. 2022 saw an 82 million user drop, the first one in years, but the increasing trend continued in 2023.

Overall, more than one billion people worldwide started using OTT video services between 2018 and 2023, causing the user penetration in the market to jump from 33.2 per cent to 45.6 per cent in this period, the report mentioned.

Over the past five years, streaming giants have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on creating new content, all in a race to grow their viewership, pushing the total number of users in the OTT video market to record highs.

All the largest service providers in the market, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney+, saw their subscriber count double and triple in the past five years, helping total market revenue to reach record highs.

In 2023, OTT video service providers are expected to gross nearly $295 billion in revenue or three times more than $98.7 billion reported in 2018.

Around 70 per cent of that value will come from the US, China and the UK, the top three markets.

OTT video advertising is the largest revenue stream in the market, generating $176.6 billion or nearly 60 per cent of total revenue this year.

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From crime drama to love story : Must-watch titles on OTT

Presented by Jio Studios, produced by Jyoti Deshpande and Manish Trehan, the film is directed by Manish Gupta. It is slated for a digital premiere on July 28 on JioCinema…reports Asian Lite News

With OTT platforms dishing up an overflowing platter of options, it’s hard to put together a must-watch list, especially if it’s limited to five. Here are the five new titles that have caught the attention:

From an investigative crime drama to a gripping thriller, to a love story, IANS has put together a slate that should grab the interest of diverse audiences, spanning interests and languages.

This week’s must-watch array of multi-genre content includes Urvashi’s 700th movie ‘Appatha’ to Vijay Varma and Shweta Tripathi’s investigative drama ‘Kaalkoot’. We also have Tamil political thriller ‘Maamannan’ to ‘Choona’, a thrilling heist drama loaded with perfect comic punches.

And, don’t forget Raveena Tandon and Milind Soman’s ‘One Friday Night’, which explores the complexities of relationships.

Kaalkoot

The investigative drama stars Vijay Varma and Shweta Tripathi Sharma, along with Yashpal Sharma, Gopal Datt and Seema Biswas. Directed by Sumit Saxena, ‘Kaalkoot’ delves deep into the dark realities of patriarchy and systemic oppression.

An intense crime series set against the backdrop of a horrifying acid attack case, the story revolves around Ravi Tripathi (Vijay), a sub-inspector in the town of Thana Sarsi. Initially lacking interest in his job, Ravi’s perspective changes when he discovers that the victim of the brutal attack, Parul (Shweta), is the same girl his mother wanted him to marry.

Driven by a newfound purpose, Ravi takes it upon himself to investigate the crime and find the person responsible. Along the way, he confronts gender biases, toxic masculinity, and societal expectations that hinder his pursuit of justice.

Directed by Sumit Saxena, it is streaming on Jio Cinema from July 27.

One Friday Night

Starring the talented trio of Raveena Tandon, Milind Soman, and Vidhi Chitalia, ‘One Friday Night’ is a gripping thriller that promises an evening of romance, betrayal and suspense!

This riveting drama explores the complexities of relationships, secrets, and the unexpected turns life can take. It centres around Ram, an affluent man who finds himself entangled in an affair with Niru, a woman half his age. Their secret rendezvous in a clandestine love nest takes an unforeseen turn when a life-altering accident leaves Ram severely injured, and in dire need of medical attention.

With no other options available, Niru is forced to make a fateful decision — to reach out to Ram’s unsuspecting wife, Lata. What happens thereafter is a total rollercoaster.

Presented by Jio Studios, produced by Jyoti Deshpande and Manish Trehan, the film is directed by Manish Gupta. It is slated for a digital premiere on July 28 on JioCinema.

Appatha

Starring the legendary South Indian actress Urvashi (it’s her 700th film), and directed by Priyadarshan, ‘Appatha’ skillfully weaves together elements of humour and genuine emotions.

The Tamil movie takes viewers into the world of Kannamma, also known as Appatha, who has spent all her life in the village of Kaayilanpatti. She raises her son after losing her husband, makes a name for herself with her business, but all along, she stays away from her one fear — dogs.

Watch as she reconnects with her estranged son, who brought her to the city only for her to realise that she needs to keep an eye on the family dog Zeus when they go on a vacation. The duo goes from trying to stay away from each other to nearly becoming inseparable.

It will start streaming on JioCinema on July 29.

Maamannan

A Tamil political thriller written and directed by Mari Selvaraj, the film boasts of an ensemble cast that includes Vadivelu, Udhayanidhi Stalin, who’s also the producer, Fahadh Faasil and Keerthy Suresh.

Maamannan (played by Vadivelu) is an MLA belonging to the oppressed community, who rose up the ranks from being a party cadre in Salem, Tamil Nadu. His son, Athiveeran ‘Veera’ (Stalin), a practitioner of the martial art Adimurai, is estranged from his father owing to a casteist attack by the local dominant community members during his childhood, which left him emotionally and physically scarred.

Rathnavelu (Fahadh) is the district secretary in the party of which Maamannan is a member, and belongs to the dominant community. Rathnavelu and Maamannan are always at loggerheads due to the former’s brash and aggressive attitude.

One day, after an altercation and noticing the disrespect to his father Sundaram (played by Azhagam Perumal), by his colleagues and other party members, Rathnavelu lashes out at them, which instigates Maamannan and Veera to turn from pawns to players.

What follows is how Veera and Maamannan tackle the obstacles rolled out by Rathnavelu to establish his control over local politics. And this clash of personalities is intertwined with notions of social equality.

The film was released on June 29 and it started streaming on Netflix on July 27.

Choona

Starring Jimmy Shergill, Aashim Gulati, Vikram Kochhar, Chandan Roy, Namit Das, Gyanendra Tripathi, Atul Srivastava, Monika Panwar and Niharika Lyra Dutt, this thrilling heist drama is written and directed by Pushpendra Nath Misra.

When an astrologer, a highly skilled, shape-shifting informer, a ‘gully ka gunda’, a demoted police officer, a once-successful contractor, and a resourceful mediator, Bishnu, plan a heist to take down their one common enemy Shukla, the calm is whitewashed and chaos is liberally laid out for one and all.

They plan to loot Rs 600 crore, no less, and that too from the lion’s lair! The party office of Shukla is guarded by armed men, over a hundred physically fit workers, and is secured by CCTV cameras at every corner. With such a huge amount at stake, this extraordinary heist will need more than just brains and brawns to succeed.

Can these ordinary men successfully pull off an extraordinary feat and ‘lagao choona’ to Shukla?

With a comic seasoning of astrological reasoning in its narrative and a exciting visual experience, ‘Choona’ is set to take the viewers on an entertaining, fun-filled ride.

It will start streaming on August 3 on Netflix.  

ALSO READ-Unmissable week of captivating OTT contents

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Unmissable week of captivating OTT contents

Genelia Deshmukh and Manav Kaul starrer ‘Trial Period’ is the slice-of-life drama, showcasing an endearing tale of unconventional family bond…reports Asian Lite News

This week OTT platforms have lined up a must-watch array of multi-genre content from a war love story to a slice-of-life drama to sci-fi mystery and more, giving viewers an opportunity to get immersed in captivating narratives.

From Varun-Janhvi’s ‘Bawaal’ to Genelia Deshmukh and Manav Kaul’s ‘Trial Period’, to Vijay Varma’s ‘Kaalkoot’,  OTT has caught the pulse of its audience and is delivering– raw, resonant and moving content.  Here’s a list of this week’s unmissable titles:

1) Bawaal

Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor starrer touches upon the themes and events surrounding World War 2. 

It’s an extraordinary love story set in the backdrop of WW2, powered by brilliant performances by Varun and Jahnvi. Set in the heartland of India, the gripping narrative takes viewers on a never-seen-before journey through Europe. 

Directed and co-written by Nitesh Tiwari, it is produced by Nadiadwala Grandsons. It will be released on July 21 on Prime Video.


2) Trial Period

Genelia Deshmukh and Manav Kaul starrer ‘Trial Period’ is the slice-of-life drama, showcasing an endearing tale of unconventional family bond.

Written and directed by Aleya Sen, the film is an emotional rollercoaster, and unravels the love and complexities of modern imperfect families.

The film follows the journey of a single mother Ana, played by Genelia, whose world turns upside down when her inquisitive son demands a father on a trial period of 30 days. The innocent coercion leads to the arrival of a disciplined Prajapati Dwivedi from Ujjain, fondly known as PD, played by Manav– who is in complete contradiction to the expectations of the mother and the son. 

What follows is an adorable tale of love and friendship, as they navigate through the challenges of an unconventional family dynamic, personality clashes, blossoming into unexpected bonds. 
 
It will premiere on July 21 on JioCinema.


3) Sweet Magnolias Season 3 

Starring JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Heather Headley, and Brooke Elliott, it centres around three best friends (Maddie, Helen, and Dana Sue) born and raised in Serenity, South Carolina, a small southern town where everybody knows everybody and everybody knows everybody’s business.

Following the brawl at Sullivan’s, Maddie wrestles with the best way to help Cal and works to clear her own emotional path. Helen faces difficult decisions about the men in her life. And Dana Sue searches for a way to use Miss Frances’ check to help the community, without upending her family. 

The identity of the tire slasher sends shockwaves through Serenity, the recall causes unexpected consequences, and there are romantic surprises in every generation. Throughout the season, the ladies tackle these problems — and all the complications they cause — with their trademark warmth, humor, and devotion to each other and those they love.

It will premiere on July 20 on Netflix.


4) They Cloned Tyron

A series of eerie events thrusts an unlikely trio (Boyega, Foxx and Parris) onto the trail of a nefarious government conspiracy in this pulpy mystery caper.

The sci-fi mystery film directed by Juel Taylor, stars John Boyega, Teyonah Parris, and Jamie Foxx. David Alan Grier and Kiefer Sutherland will be seen in pivotal roles.

It will air on July 21 on Netflix.


5) Kaalkoot

Vijay Varma starrer shows him as a cop battling social challenges and marital pressure. He constantly faces bullying and pressure from his superiors while also dealing with the expectations from his mother and society to get married.

However, the world around them is filled with dark secrets, as hinted in the first look that ends with the revelation that the girl chosen for him by his mother is portrayed by Shweta Tripathi.

Directed by Sumit Saxena, ‘Kaalkoot’ is set to stream on Jio Cinema from July 27.

6) Good Omens Season 2

Originally based on Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s international best-selling novel, ‘Good Omens 2’ explores storylines that go beyond the original source material to illuminate the ineffable friendship between Aziraphale (Michael Sheen), a fussy angel and rare-book dealer, and the fast-living demon Crowley (David Tennant). 

Having been on Earth since The Beginning, and with the Apocalypse thwarted, the duo are getting back to easy living amongst mortals in London’s Soho. That is, until the archangel Gabriel (Jon Hamm) turns up unexpectedly at the door of Aziraphale’s bookshop with no memory of who he is or how he got there. While Crowley is leery as to why the archangel has come to the bookshop, Aziraphale is keen to solve the mystery behind Gabriel’s condition. 

However, hiding the archangel from both Heaven and Hell quickly disrupts their lives in unforeseen ways. To solve this mystery and thwart Heaven and Hell in the process, the duo will need more than a miracle; they’ll need to once again rely on each other.

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India’s entertainment industry to ride OTT boom

Media companies and content creators are already pushing towards providing more interactive and immersive experiences to viewers….reports Asian Lite News

Driven by a surge in OTT platforms, India’s entertainment and media industry is expected to reach Rs 6,828,944 crore ($73.6 billion) by 2027, growing at a 9.48 per cnet CAGR, a report showed on Tuesday.

With new launches from international players and increasing “pay-lite” options, OTT revenue has surged in recent years, expanding a further 25.1 per cent in 2022 to reach Rs 1,48,554 crore ($1.8 billion), according to PwC’s ‘Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2023-2027.

“This is over six times the revenue of 2018. The market will continue to grow at an impressive rate, increasing at a 14.3 per cent CAGR to produce revenue of Rs 2,88,855 crore ($3.5 billion) in 2027,” the report noted.

This will be driven by the competitive SVOD (subscription-video on demand) sector, which accounted for 78.1 per cent of market revenue in 2022.

Although subscription service revenue will expand at a 13 per cent CAGR to reach Rs 2,14,578 crore ($2.6 billion), advertising-supported services (AVOD) will grow at a higher rate, albeit from a lower base.

“As the adoption of emerging technologies like AI/ML, metaverse, increase, use cases will expand and will undoubtedly disrupt the media industry,” said Manpreet Singh Ahuja, Chief Digital Officer and Leader — Technology, Media and Telecom, PwC India.

Media companies and content creators are already pushing towards providing more interactive and immersive experiences to viewers.

“We expect media and entertainment enterprises to invest heavily in transformational ideas of the future to stay relevant to their audiences,” he added.

India’s total video games and esports revenue was Rs 1,40,301 crore ($1.7 billion) in 2022 and is expected to reach Rs 3,46,626 crore ($4.2 billion) by 2027, increasing at a 19.4 per CAGR, the findings showed.

“Increased mobile penetration and the use of digital technologies are poised to disrupt existing channels and create new possibilities in the years ahead for the sector,” said Rajib Basu, Partner & Leader — Entertainment & Media, PwC India.

The Indian Internet advertising market is among the fastest-growing in the world, with a 12.3 per cent CAGR expected to see total revenue climb from Rs 3,63,132 crore ($4.4 billion) in 2022 to Rs 6,51,987 crore ($7.9 billion) by 2027.

India’s consumer book market will increase at a 3.7 per cent CAGR between 2022 and 2027, with total revenue increasing from Rs 90,783 crore ($1.1 billion) to Rs 1,07,289 crore ($1.3 billion), the report added.

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Theatrical release is like an endorsement for a feature film

Some prospect hunters with an aim to make quick bucks misread the demand for films on the video format. They started making feature films in the video format with budgets of as little as Rs 3-5 lakh at a time when the budget for a Hindi film went up to Rs 50-60 lakh…writes Vinod Mirani

The business of cinema has come a full circle. OTT platforms, which majorly depend on films as their prime content provider, are now facing a shortage of supply. Feature films carry a universal appeal and are the biggest draw for eyeballs on the OTT platforms.

People may have followed some web series on OTT, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic lock down and explored content from all over the world. That was because the supply of new films had halted. Still, feature films ruled the OTT platforms, mostly the old ones.

Now that the world was coming closer, thanks to the Internet, people explored all the options available to them during the lockdown. But films remained the main attraction.

So, two major players, Apple and Amazon Prime, have decided to invest up to a billion dollars in film production with the aim to give them a theatrical release. People love to watch a movie in a cinema, but high admission rates combined with the pandemic-borne lockdown drove the entertainment seekers to OTT streaming.

BHediya 2.

What worked here too were the films, except occasional web series. The catch here is that a movie is a movie only when it is released in cinemas and not directly on an OTT platform. A theatrical release is like an endorsement for a feature film. Also, when a film releases in a cinema, it gets publicity as well as media exposure. In short, it creates public awareness about the film.

In India, we learnt this lesson the hard way very early, a few decades back. This was when the video format came to India. Anybody who could afford a video player (others could get one on rend), rented video cassettes to watch films. Cassettes were available on rent as video piracy thrived.

Some prospect hunters with an aim to make quick bucks misread the demand for films on the video format. They started making feature films in the video format with budgets of as little as Rs 3-5 lakh at a time when the budget for a Hindi film went up to Rs 50-60 lakh.

The market was flooded with over 5,000 video films. Sadly, there were no takers, though the market was gradually going legit, because neither the video rights buyer, nor the viewer cared for films shot on video format. Nobody wanted a film that was not a regular feature film made for cinemas. As a result, investments in about 5,000 video films went down the drain.

This fact now seems to have dawned on the OTT big shots in the US of A. They plan big-time investments in feature films, give them a regular theatrical release, which would add majorly to a film’s recovery and also qualify it for the OTT platform as a regular film. This will also help the cinema chains survive, considering the deficit of supply which has forced the cinemas to reduce admission rates by a third of the original.

Closer home, the good news for the trade in general and the exhibition trade in particular is that the entertainment arm of Reliance Industries, Jio Cinema, which has been working on putting together a slate of entertainment content for some time, has finally announced an extensive slate of 100 productions in various languages, which include films as well as OTT content.

Jio Cinema has been working on content gathering, but, probably, did not want to announce this till they had a substantial repertoire on hand. Although the company’s initial plan was to expand itself in the news media with a channel dedicated to each city or town, an idea one would think was far-fetched and would serve no real purpose, this shift to the entertainment media is welcome. Entertainment has takers all around.

Jio Cinema has been making its moves gradually, one at a time. From the Jio mobile network to acquiring interests in television news media, its progression from a small smartphone screen to the big screen and 5G will finally be all-encompassing: from handphone to television to the big cinema screen.

A lot of producers have announced or launched more than one project at a time. Some were just publicity gimmicks; some meant it. But what Jio Cinema is planning is a 100-project slate to start with.

Jio Cinema has interests in all kinds of content. These include films such as ‘Dunki’ (Shah Rukh Khan), ‘Bloody Daddy’ (Shahid Kapor), ‘Bhediya 2’ (Varun Dhawan), ‘Stree 2’ (Rajkummar Rao- Shraddha Kpoor) and many such regular star cast films. Stars in the company’s acquisitions / joint ventures are from all regions. They include Vijay Sethupati, R. Madhavan, Pratik Gandhi, and Arvind Swamy, among others.

Similarly, Jio Cinema’s web content includes ‘Laal Batti’, ‘Union: The Making Of India’, ‘Inspector Avinash’, ‘Rafuchakkar’, ‘Bajao’ and others offering varied content and actors.

Along with Jio Cinema, the Viacom18 OTT platform, Voot, is also reported to be on a content acquisition spree. Reliance has an interest in both Viacom and Voot.

Jio planned to release ‘Stree’ directly on OTT, but, as an afterthought, decided to give the film a theatrical release; the risks were not high. The film worked wonders and registered a good business. Similar was their experience with ‘Luka Chuppi’.

In all probability, had these films been released directly on OTT, they may not have worked or not met with the same success. As I mentioned earlier, a feature film is not accepted till it is screened in cinemas. Web series are fine, but for OTT to succeed, the route is through movies. What Apple, Amazon and Jio Cinema are doing will benefit and assure the survival of all channels of entertainment.

Government wakes up to 51-year-old problem

It has been more than 50 years since the video cassette recorder / player brought home viewing of films to India. It is also the time when video piracy also took roots. Owning a VCR was a luxury and watching a feature film at home was a privilege. Unfortunately, the films which were available on video cassettes were mostly pirated.

There were various ways of pirating a feature film. These included hijacking a film print for a few hours while it was being dispatched to nearby cinemas, or copying prints being sent to overseas markets (usually dispatched a week before a film’s India release as it needed to complete censor and other formalities in the respective country), but the cheapest and crudest way to copy a film was to make a camera print while watching a film. The format was new and people did not mind even watching such copies.

Is it not odd that the government has woken up after so many year to the issue of piracy and unauthorised exhibition of films? What is the provocation, 51 years since the problem first reared its head? The government has labelled camcording of a film in a theatre as an offence. Does it still happen? I don’t think so.

The piracy as it was done in the 1970s and 80s does not happen now. Yes, unauthorised exhibition of films happens big time and, no, these are not pirated prints as the government believes. The prints are acquired through unauthorized means without the acquisition of rights and are made available through the Internet.

The Government has amended the Cinematograph Act 1952. The new legislation is the Cinematograph Amendment Bill 2023. It provides for blocking websites transmitting unauthorised content.

Films from 1932 onwards, mostly from the later eras, are available on the Net. How does the government plan to determine which film is authorised and which one is not? Most of the OTT platforms operate from countries other than India and blocking a popular portal may not solve the problem because blocking does not guarantee no access. Yes, maybe you could try blocking the revenue flows to such portals.

The Bill does not mention piracy of music, which, probably, generates much more revenue for the pirates and other unlawful content providers.

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