ScreenHits TV allows consumers, who have been longing for an aggregator to organise all their streaming services in one app, get full use of their streaming apps by having a quick glimpse at what is recommended and what is trending across all their streaming platforms, says Rose Adkins Hulse, Founder and CEO Of ScreenHits TV, in a chat with Pickle
Tell us about ScreenHits TV
ScreenHits TV provides a unique platform for consumers to organise and get the most out of their streaming subscriptions in one place. It provides a unique interface to discover content across all the leading premium streamers, without having to switch between apps to do so.
How important is TV in a streaming world?
TV has many definitions. Consuming content exclusively via satellite providers is no longer necessary. The consumer does not have to acquire expensive hardware or have a satellite dish on their roof to enjoy high quality content. The studios are dictating the method of delivery in this new digital age and the consumers are adapting quite well to it. I do believe there will always be a need for a TV screen to watch TV, but the means in how the content gets on the TV is in the process of transition and TV as we know it will be redefined in this new direct to consumer, digital world.
Who are the major streamers using ScreenHits TV services?
Services vary from region to region, but in the territories we are launched in, consumers are able to integrate the leading premium streamers such as Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Starz, Lionsgate, BBC iPlayer, Peacock, HBO Max, and Paramount +, to name a few.
Which devices does ScreenHits TV work with?
ScreenHits iOS tablet app and soon to be mobile app has compatibility with Android TVs with Chromecast and Fire TV. Shortly we will be launching a native app on Vizio, LG, and Metz.
How does ScreenHits TV benefit the consumer and help stream content in one place?
The most frustrating thing for the customer when trying to find something to watch is to have to switch in between streaming apps to do a search and discovery. This inhibits consumers from wanting to have multiple apps and removing apps that they feel are not used often, increasing unnecessary churn for streaming services. ScreenHits TV ensures that consumers get full use of their streaming apps, allowing them to have a quick glimpse at what is recommended and what is trending across all their streaming platforms.
What does research say?
Our research, along with research from other leading data companies such as SmithGeiger Group and Nielsen shows that consumers want an aggregator that helps to organise all their streaming services in one and doesn’t require hardware. Consumers are also looking for bundles, so they can easily transition from their Pay TV subscription to app TV. It is important for consumers to understand the true value in switching to app TV and their cost savings.
What is important for a consumer—content or platform?
Content is always important and will remain so. The issue is that with so much fragmentation and rights returning to the studios for their direct to consumer streaming platforms, it can become quite a challenge to keep track of where everything is, so an aggregator that places the consumer first and lets them quickly find their favourite shows or discover the next big show to watch, will become extremely important.
Streaming market is on the rise globally. It is amazing that the US alone has over 300 streaming platforms.It is also considered a $100 billion market with one billion subscribers. Where do we go from here now?
Streaming market is expected to grow even bigger. As the industry starts to consolidate and the winning streaming services solidify their positioning and content roadmap, consumers will start to transition. There are still a large number of consumers that rely on Pay TV for accessing their media. However, streamers are the future and over the next 3-5 years, we will see a massive migration from Pay TV to app TV. These are exciting times.
How important is curation of content?
There are many views on this. Some people want to have a universal search and access to every single piece of content that is available in the world. I personally do not believe in this.
We must learn from the successes and failures of the past and one valuable lesson that we should not forget is that consumers need curation. As consumers have less time at their disposal, ScreenHits TV strives to make their life easier by curating the best of the best.
So, when it comes to our users discovering content they are only searching from the best content in the market. There are other services,too, but they do not curate or limit the number of streamers they have on their platform. However, if we were to do this, it would be a direct contradiction to our name.
How did the pandemic impact growth of aggregators like ScreenHits?
During the pandemic more and more streaming services were launched, and the frustrations of having multiple apps on different devices with multiple interfaces proved to be very frustrating to the consumer. Addition of these new services accelerated our growth in the market exponentially. We were developing ScreenHits TV prior to the pandemic, but we have had to speed up our initiatives to ensure that we were growing with the industry and providing an immediate solution to cord-cutters.
ScreenHits has appointed Moviegoers Entertainment to oversee Indian content?
Yes, this has been a wonderful decision. They have solidified our Indian growth plans and have secured premium Indian content partners for ScreenHits TV globally. They will continue to oversee the rollout of ScreenHits TV India and manage our partnerships with our key Indian players.
When is the India launch expected?
We will be announcing this exciting news in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
What are the challenges you foresee in the times to come?
Our biggest challenge is to keep up with the opportunities and manage our growth. There are a number of wonderful opportunities right now and we have to focus on our territory rollouts, new product features and always creating the best product for our streaming partners to ensure their content always remains top of mind with consumers at the point of discovery.
Tell us about your competition like Struum.
Struum is not a competitor of ours. They are not aggregating streaming services. They host content on their platform, similar to platforms like IndieFlix, Mubi, Curiosity Stream, History Hits and act more like a TVOD platform like Rakuten and Chili. Their business model is also very different from ours. They offer credits (like a discounted TVOD model) for their users to rent library content from the Indie streamers. They also own the customer relationship and for some platforms that may not be an issue, but as we work with the leading streamers in the world, that does not benefit them and never will. ScreenHits TV does not want to own the customer like Struum does. The customer will always belong to our streaming partners and our goal is to always drive traffic back to our partners’ site while creating a seamless UX for our customers to discover content across all their subscribed platforms.
Streaming platforms have lined up a string of interesting releases Here is a look at some of the films. Watch these new films from home
Sarpatta Parambarai is a period sports drama film directed by Pa Ranjith, who also co-produced the film under his banner Neelam Productions, along with Shanmugam Dhakshanaraj of K9 Studios.
The film stars Arya, Dushara Vijayan, Pasupathy, Anupama Kumar and Sanchana Natarajan. Set during the 1980s, the film revolves around a clash between two clans namely Idiyappa Parambarai and Sarpatta Parambarai in North Chennai, which also showcases the boxing culture in the locality and also the politics being involved in it.
Makers of Sarpatta Parambarai have opted for a direct-to-digital release, whose streaming rights were acquired by Amazon Prime Video. It is now scheduled to release through the streaming service on 22 July 2021, coinciding the Prime Day celebrations.
Narappa is a Telugu action drama film directed by Srikanth Addala. A remake of the Tamil film Asuran (2019) which is itself based on the novel Vekkai by Poomani, the film stars Venkatesh, Priyamani and Karthik Rathnam.
It is being jointly produced by Kalaipuli S Thanu and D Suresh Babu under their respective banners V Creations and Suresh Productions.Mani Sharma composed the film’s music. The film will be premiered on 20 July 2021 on Amazon Prime Video.
According to , producer Suresh Babu, “The film’s core message is very powerful. It does not shy away from the truths. I am certain that it will impact in ways that no one would expect. I am incredibly happy that we are able to showcase our film to audiences across 240 countries and territories.”
Hungama 2 is a Hindi romantic comedy film directed by Priyadarshan and jointly produced by Ratan Jain, Ganesh Jain, Chetan Jain and Armaan Ventures.
It is a remake of his own 1994 Malayalam film Minnaram and a spiritual successor to the 2003 film Hungama. The film stars Paresh Rawal, Shilpa Shetty, Meezaan Jaffrey and Pranitha Subhash. Hungama 2 marks the comebacks of Priyadarshan and Shilpa Shetty to Bollywood after eight years and 14 years respectively. The music of film was composed by Anu Malik while lyrics written by Sameer and Rani Malik.
Hungama 2 is scheduled to premiere on 23 July 2021 on Disney+ Hotstar.
SKY ROJO Season 2
The second season of Sky Rojo will land on Netflix on July 23. The high octane Spanish language original series, from the creator of Money Heist, strapped us into a full-throttle ride with Wendy, Coral, and Gina back in March. Now we are headed for the second leg of their journey.
“Our reunion with Gina, Coral, and Wendy will put us on a collision course with Romeo’s henchman Moisés and Christian, but no worries. That’s exactly what the trio want,” said Netflix in a statement.
“It’s hunt or be hunted in their world, and these women have decided they’re not hares; they’re foxes. The trio are out for blood and they plan to make everyone that hurt them pay. And, of course, get what’s theirs.”
TED LASSO Season 2
Ted Lasso is an American comedy streaming television series developed by Bill Lawrence, Jason Sudeikis, Joe Kelly, and Brendan Hunt, based on a character of the same name that Sudeikis first portrayed in a series of promos for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Premier League. The series premiered with the first three episodes on Apple TV+ on August 14, 2020, and was renewed for a second season of 12 episodes five days after its premiere, which is scheduled to premiere on July 23, 2021.
In October 2020, the series was renewed for a third season.
THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER
After finding a trove of love letters from 1965, a reporter sets out to solve the mystery of a secret affair — while embarking on a romance of her own. This is the synopsis of The Last Letter From Your Lover starring Shailene Woodley,Felicity Jones,Callum Turner, which is to be premiered on Netflix on July 23.
The British romantic drama film based on Jojo Moyes’ 2012 novel of the same name. A young female journalist in contemporary London uncovers a series of love letters telling the story of an intensely romantic but star-crossed affair in the 1960s and becomes obsessed with discovering the lovers’ identities and finding out how their love story ends.
MURDER IN THE HILLS
The suspicious death of a yesteryear star of Bengali cinema threatens to expose the seedy underbelly of a serene Darjeeling is what Murder in the Hills is all about. The series premieres 23 July, on Hoichoi.
Starring Anindita Bose, Anjan Dutt and Arjun Chakrabarty in key roles, Anjan Dutt’s first Hoichoi web series is a dark murky tale that is set in the backdrop of he 1990s.
“Murder in The Hills is an extremely dark story filled with very complex characters, who are all contemporary and young. It’s violent, reeking in secrets, lies and scandals. The hills become very murky… where blood is shed and the violence of the past catch up with the present,” says Anjan.
HOSTEL DAZE Season 2
Hostel Daze is an Hindi comedy-drama streaming television miniseries created Saurabh Khanna and Abhishek Yadav. Directed Raghav Subbu, it stars Adarsh Gourav, Luv, Shubham Gaur, Nikhil Vijay and Ahsaas Channa in lead roles.
Hostel Daze premiered on Amazon Prime Video on 13 December 2019. And the second season will be out on the same platform on July 23.
The lead cast includes Adarsh Gourav, Luv Vispute and Ahsaas Channa,
KINGDOM: ASHIN OF THE NORTH
Kingdom: Ashin of the North is described as a sidequel of Kingdom (2019) season two and a backstory about the mysterious character Lee Chang’s group encountered on their journey to north to discover the origins of the infected.
The synopsis goes like this: As a side story to the Kingdom saga, Kingdom: Ashin of the North explores, reveals and explains the origins and synthesis of the resurrection plant and the mystery behind Ashin’s identity. This film revolves around and goes in-depth into the character of Ashin who was introduced at the end of the series’ finale.
It will be streamed on Netflix from July 24.
Jio Studios and Dinesh Vijan’s Mimi will have its world premiere on Jio Cinema and Netflix on July 30.
It is directed by Laxman Utekar, while story and screenplay is by Laxman Utekar and Rohan Shankar. Mimi is based on the original story by Samruddhi Porey.
A Maddock Films Original, the Kriti Sanon starrer movie also features the sublime Pankaj Tripathi and Sai Tamhankar. Looks this one’s a wholesome joyride that just can’t be missedm, says a statement from the makers.
Jio Studios’ social drama Puzhayamma is having a direct release on OTT platform Jio Cinema. Directed by Vijeesh Mani the movie stars Linda Arsenio and Baby Meenakshi.
The film is completely shot in a river. Puzhayamma, Based on river pollution, it is an environmental film.
The synopsis: Based on the friendship between a 13 year old girl Baby Meenakshi and an American tourist Linda Arsenio and the hurdles they had to face, when they tried to save a polluted river. The film is completely shot in a river, a first in world films statistics.
Streaming platforms have been a godsend for a slew of quality Indian actors striving for their due. Web shows have given them an opportunity to break out of the stifling confines of Bollywood. These talented performers who once thirsted for roles of substance can now demonstrate the full range of their talent. Mainstream cinema tended to pigeonhole them into stereotypical supporting roles. Not anymore. Among these actors are a few like Manoj Bajpayee and Kay Kay Menon who were names to reckon with even before the paradigm shift happened, but long-format narratives have certainly benefited them all, seasoned thespians and gifted greenhorns alike. By Saibal Chatterjee
Investing In Roles
The Family Man, Ray, Mrs Serial Killer
Manoj Bajpayee had minor roles in Govind Nihalani’s Drohkaal and Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen, both 1994, before bursting on the scene with Ram Gopal Varma’s Satya (1998). He has since steadily built a reputation as an actor who invests every role with authenticity and depth. The Shool, Pinjar, Gangs of Wasseypur, Aligarh and Gali Guleiyan actor has had several streaming platform releases during the Covid-19 pandemic. Fans have seen the actor in Suraj Pe Mangal Bhaari and Silence… Can You Hear It?, besides the critically acclaimed Bhonsle. He is also the lead actor of the Amazon Prime series The Family Man, in which he plays a secret service operative who balances the pressures of his job and his commitments as a husband and father. His latest applauded appearance has been in one of the four segments of the Netflix series Ray, based on short stories written by Satyajit Ray.
Kay Kay Menon
Special Ops, Ray
Kay Kay Menon, a versatile actor who has had a long and busy career, is known for doing complete justice whenever he has been presented with an opportunity to demonstrate his skills. His diverse filmography includes titles such as Sarkar, Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, Life… in a Metro, Gulaal and Haider. With his assertive screen presence, Menon proves time after time that there are few of his ilk in the Hindi movie industry. In one of his most memorable performances, in the Hotstar series Special Ops, created and directed by Neeraj Pandey, the actor fleshes out a counter-terrorism officer who puts together a task force of five Indian spies spread across the globe to thwart a terror plot. More recently, he plays the lead in Bahrupiya, a segment of the Netflix series Ray.
Actress & Activist
OK Computer, Maharani
An accomplished theatre and film actress, Kani Kusruti, with her activism background, has wide-ranging experience across cultural platforms. She did her theatre training at the Thrissur Drama School and the Paris-based L’Ecole Internationale de Theatre Jacques Lecoq. Apart from acclaimed performances in the Malayalam films Kerala Café, Cocktail and Biriyani, which fetched her several awards, she has been seen of late in the Hindi-language web shows OK Computer and Maharani. She had a key role in Shaji N. Karun’s Oolu. In the wildly inventive futuristic fable OK Computer, created and directed by Pooja Shetty and Neil Pagedar, Kani plays a Goa cyber cell inspector investigating a hit-and-run case involving a self-driving car. In the Subhash Kapoor-directed Maharani, she essay the role of a sharp-witted bureaucrat posted as an adviser to the eponymous character, a homemaker who replaces her powerful politician husband as the Chief Minister of Bihar in the 1990s.
Versatility In Web Shows
Mirzapur, Broken but Beautiful, Made in Heaven, Criminal Justice, Haseen Dillruba
Few actors have cashed in on the recent spate of web shows and movies on the streaming platforms to the extent that Vikrant Massey, a one-time television star, has done. The 34-year-old actor played supporting roles in Vikramaditya Motwane’s Lootera and Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do before landing the lead in actress Konkona Sen Sharma’s outstanding directorial debut, A Death in the Gunj. Massey made an instant impact, surrendering himself to a callow young man of the 1970s grappling with a hostile world. The actor’s ascent has continued since then thanks in the main to a series of web shows that he has been an integral part of. Among these are Mirzapur (Amazon Prime), Broken but Beautiful (ALTBalaji), Made in Heaven (Amazon Prime) and Criminal Justice. As 2021 reached the halfway mark, Massey had a Netflix release – Haseen Dillruba, a thriller co-starring Taapsee Pannu.
The Bihar-born National School of Drama alumnus has been on a steady upswing over the last ten years or so, starting with the accolades he garnered for his performance in Anurag Kashyap’s magnum opus Gangs of Wasseypur. Before he made his first appearance in Netflix’s Sacred Games in 2018-2019, he had a string of career-defining big-screen roles. Among them were critically hailed performances in Fukrey, Masaan (which was screened in Cannes’s Un certain regard), Newton (Which premiered in the Berlin Film Festival’s Forum), Gurgaon, Bareilly Ki Barfi and Stree. In the past couple of years, with cinema halls being shuttered, Tripathi has had several releases on the streaming platforms – Gunjan Saxena – The Kargil Girl and Ludo (both Netflix), Kaagaz (Zee5) and the web shows Mirzapur (Amazon Prime) and Criminal Justice (Hotstar).
Jaideep Ahlawat, 41, after several cameos in films such as Khatta Meetha, Chittagong and Rockstar, rose to prominence with Anurag Kashyap’s two-part Gangs of Wasseypur. He also played key roles in the Shahrukh Khan starrer Raees, the action film Commando: One Man Army, Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam and Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi. In 2020-2021, Ahlawat, who learnt the ropes of acting at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, had as many as three releases on the streaming platforms – Khaali Peeli (ZeePlex), the Netflix anthology Ajeeb Daastaans and Dibakar Banerjee’s Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar. He made his web series debut in the Netflix spy thriller Bard of Blood before hitting his straps with a role in the critically acclaimed Amazon Prime crime drama Paatal Lok. The series revolved around Ahlawat’s character, Hathiram Chaudhary, a jaded Delhi policeman who is entrusted with the investigation of a high-profile case.
Shining Star From Bengal
Paatal Lok, Black Widows
A relatively late bloomer on the pan-Indian scene, Swastika Mukherjee has been one of the most accomplished actresses working in Bengali cinema for well over a decade. Her credits include Anik Dutta’s Bhooter Bhabishyat, Srijit Mukherji’s Jaatishwar and Suman Mukhopadhyay’s Shesher Kobita. Although she had roles in the Hindi films Mumbai Cutting and Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!, it wasn’t until she played the mentally disturbed wife of a leading Delhi journalist in Paatal Lok (Amazon Prime) that she was catapulted into the national consciousness. She then appeared in a key role in Dil Bechara, which turned out to be Sushant Singh Rajput’s last film. In the same year as Paatal Lok, Swastika was cast in the Zee5 crime drama series Black Widows alongside Mona Singh and Shamita Shetty. She has also been in a slew of Bengali-language web shows, all of which are on the Hoichoi streaming service.
Style And Substance
Another of the many actors who arrived on the scene riding on the two-part crime drama Gangs of Wasseypur, the hugely talented Huma Qureshi, 34, has since successfully diversified into a variety of movie genres. Endowed with the natural ability and intelligence, the actress has two major web shows behind her. The first, Leila, released on Netflix in 2019, was directed by Deepa Mehta, among others. The dystopian drama series had her in the title role. More recently, she played the lead in the SonyLIV political thriller Maharani, set in 1990s Bihar. Her film roles have straddled a wide range, from Abhishek Chaubey’s dark comedy Dedh Ishqiya, in which she shared screen space with Madhuri Dixit, and the legal satire Jolly LLB, opposite Akshay Kumar, to the Malayalam film White, a Mammootty starrer in which she played dual roles, and the Tamil-language Kaala, alongside Rajinikanth.
Silence & Spoken Lines
A relative newcomer, Zoya Hussain made a strong impression with her very first big-screen role. The film, Anurag Kashyap’s Mukkabaaz, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017. Playing a mute woman who marries the pugilist-protagonist, the actress conveyed a range of emotions with the use of spoken lines. Zoya has also been in a few independent films such as Teen Aur Aadha and Namdev Bhau: In Search of Silence, both directed by Dar Gai. She played key roles in the Rana Daggubati trilingual Kaadan and Navdeep Singh’s period action-drama Laal Kaptaan, starring Saif Ali Khan as a late 18th century bounty hunter in the Bundelkhand region of northern India. In June 2021, Zoya’s maiden web show, Grahan, began streaming on Hotstar Specials. In the role of a police officer who stumbles upon a dark truth about her father’s involvement in the 1984 Sikh riots, she delivers an impressively restrained star turn.
Visible On Web
Mirzapur, Made in Heaven, Delhi Crime, Out of Love, OK Computer
An actress who has steadily risen up the ladder, Rasika Dugal is one of India’s most visible stars on the web. She made her big-screen debut in 2007, with a role in Anwar and followed that up with appearances in films like Anurag Kashyap’s No Smoking, Santosh Sivan’s Tahaan, Ram Gopal Varma’s Agyaat and Aijaz Khan’s Hamid. Dugal’s finest hour came when she played one of the principal roles in Anup Singh’s critically lauded 2013 film Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost. It had her in the role of a girl who marries a woman who has been raised as a boy. In the web space, Dugal has had a steady stream of successes with shows such as Mirzapur and Made in Heaven (both Amazon Prime), Delhi Crime (Netflix), Out of Love and OK Computer (Disney+Hotstar) and A Suitable Boy, a Mira Nair-directed BBC One series that is available in India on Netflix.
From Kashyap’s Workshop
Made in Heaven, Bard of Blood, Ghost Stories
Yet another screen performer who cut her teeth in an Anurag Kashyap film. That film, Raman Raghav 2.0, premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes in 2016. Dhulipala had two subsequent Hindi releases in quick succession, Chef (2017) and Kaalakaandi (2018), but neither made much headway at the box office. The Tenali, Andhra Pradesh-born actress, 29, made her Telugu-language debut in the espionage thriller (Goodachari). Geetu Mohandas then cast Dhulipala in her Malayalam film Moothon (The Elder One). Anurag Kashyap, one of the producers of the film, penned the dialogues for the Hindi version of the film. Moothon premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019. That was the year that Dhulipala’s first web shows, Made in Heaven (Amazon Prime) and Bard of Blood (Netflix), made it to their respective streamers. Anurag Kashyap cast her in his segment of the Netflix horror anthology Ghost Stories.
Seasoned Actor With Global Exposure
Delhi Crime, Mirzapur, Bandish Bandits
Rajesh Tailang is a seasoned actor with a body of work that has earned him substantial global exposure. He had lead roles in two films directed by Richie Mehta, Amal (2007) and Siddharth (2013). Both screened in the Toronto International Film Festival. Tailang was also in Prashant Nair’s Hindi dramedy Umrika, which premiered in the Sundance Film Festival in 2015. He played a supporting role in John Madden’s The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015), so-starring Dev Patel, Dame Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. Tailang’s early work in Hindi cinema was as a character actor in Govind Nihalani’s Hazaar Charasi Ki Maa, Dev and Thakshak and Ketan Mehta’s Mangal Pandey: The Rising. Richie Mehta gave Tailang a supporting role in Delhi Crime (Netflix). The actor has also essayed roles in other web shows, notably Mirzapur and Bandish Bandits (both Amazon Prime).
From Big Screen To Web Shows
The Viral Fever (TVF) shows, Panchayat, Chaman Bahaar
IIT Kharagpur graduate Jitendra Kumar’s progression as an actor has not been from big-screen cinema to web shows. He has built his career around outings on the streaming platform. He featured in a series of The Viral Fever (TVF) shows – Permanent Roommates, TVF Pitchers, TVF Bachelors Season 2 and TVF Tripling, among others. The 2019 TVF web show Kota Factory and the 2020 Amazon Prime Video series Panchayat cemented his position in the industry. His performances in these shows brought Jitendra to the notice of Mumbai filmmakers. The Hindi films that he has been a part of include the Ayushmann Khurana starrer Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan. One of his films, Chaman Bahaar, about a paan shop boy who falls in love with a schoolgirl who lives in a house opposite his shop, was released on Netflix.
Chequered But Eventful Career
Four More Shots Please!, Bard of Blood, Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors
Sayani Gupta’s Four More Shots Please! co-star Kirti Kulhari, too, has had a chequered but eventful career, working her way through commercial Hindi films and then transitioning effortlessly into the web space. First noticed by Bollywood observers for her performance in Bejoy Nambiar’s Shaitaan, Kulhari went on to play meatier roles in films like Pink, co-starring Taapsee Pannu and Amitabh Bachchan, Madhur Bhandarkar’s Indu Sarkar, in which she played the titular role, Mission Mangal and Uri: The Surgical Strike. After striking a rich vein of form in the two seasons of Four More Shots Please! (Amazon Prime) and the one-off series Bard of Blood (Netflix), Kulhari made a strong impression with a layered performance in the role of a victim of domestic abuse accused of murder in Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors (Hotstar Specials).
Varied Acting Career
Mirzapur, Ray, Death on the Nile
Ali Fazal has had a varied acting career that ranges from theatre and Hindi cinema on one hand to international projects, including major British and American ventures, on the other. He made his Bollywood debut with a small role in Rajkumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots. His breakout performance was as an aspiring musician in the comedy Fukrey. He played one of the two lead roles in Stephen Frears’ Victoria & Abdul, opposite Dame Judi Dench, and had a special appearance in the Hollywood blockbuster Furious 7. Fazal has demonstrated his range as an actor in web shows. He plays the rough and ready goon Guddu in Amazon Prime’s Mirzapur, a series whose Season 3 is now in the works, and a ruthless corporate climber in the first segment of the recent Netflix anthology Ray. Fazal will be seen next in Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile.
Striking Fine Balance
Inside Edge, Four More Shots Please, Pagglait, Kaushiki
Sayani Gupta, who has in her repertoire two successful Amazon Prime Video shows, Inside Edge and Four More Shots Please!, both of which have seen two seasons so far, has made steady progress on the back of a series of widely lauded supporting roles in Hindi cinema. She essayed a significant role in the recent Netflix release Pagglait. Her big-screen career took off with Shonali Bose’s Margarita with a Straw, which premiered in the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Another Sayani Gupta starrer, Bornila Chatterjee’s Titus Andronicus adaptation The Hungry, premiered in TIFF three years later. Her outings in commercial Hindi cinema include the Shahrukh Khan starrer Fan and Subhash Kapoor’s Akshay Kumar-spearheaded sequel to Jolly LLB. Sayani also played the eponymous character in the Indian thriller drama Kaushiki, which aired on the Hong Kong-based video streaming platform Viu.
Making It Big With Little Things
Girl in the City, Little Things
Mumbai girl Mithila Palkar, who began her career in theatre, debuted in a supporting role as lead actor Imran Khan’s sister in the Hindi film Katti Batti. A Marathi version of Anna Kendrick’s Pitch Perfect ‘cup song’ made Palkar a social media sensation as the number went viral on YouTube. Debuting in the web space with Girl in the City in 2016, she gained wider acceptance with the show Little Things. The second and third seasons of Little Things premiered on Netflix, which bought the franchise. Palkar made her debut in Marathi cinema opposite Amey Wagh in Muramba. A lead role in the Hindi film Karwaan, starring Irrfan Khan and Dulquer Salmaan, followed. Actor-turned-director Renuka Shahane cast her in a key role in her first film as director, Tribhanga, headlined by Kajol.
Patience Pays Off
TVF Pitchers, Typewriter and Mirzapur, Paatal Lok
Abhishek Banerjee did not find success easy to come by. Although he landed in Mumbai in his early 20s to be an actor, he had to bide his time. He however achieved fame as a casting director for Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, The Dirty Picture, No One Killed Jessica, Secret Superstar, Kalank, The Sky is Pink and Batla House, besides numerous other films and web shows, even as he continued to make brief on-screen appearances. He played a role in Devashish Makhija’s dark and disquieting Ajji. Then came a supporting role in Amar Kaushik’s horror-comedy Stree, starring Shraddha Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi and Aparshakti Khurrana. He appeared in the web shows TVF Pitchers, Typewriter and Mirzapur. His career-defining performance was as the murderous Hathoda Tyagi in Amazon Prime’s Paatal Lok. Banerjee was also seen in the recent Netflix anthology Ajeeb Daastaans.
Breathing Life Into Characters
Breathe, Avrodh: The Siege Within, Barot House, Operation Parindey, Yaara
Like many of the actors who have hit paydirt amid the current web series boom, Amit Sadh began his career with a successful stint in television that spanned nearly a decade and a half. He worked his way up into mainstream Bollywood thanks to a well-received performance in 2013’s Kai Po Che. The actor has since played significant roles in the Salman Khan starrer Sultan, Sarkar 3, Gold and Super 30. In the web space, too, Sadh now has a significant presence. He played the no-nonsense Senior Inspector Kabir Sawant in both seasons of the Amazon Prime crime thriller Breathe. Season 1 had R Madhavan as the lead actor. In Season 2, titled Into the Shadows, Abhishek Bachchan stepped into the breach. Sadh played an army major in the SonyLIV military action series Avrodh: The Siege Within. He has also figured in the cast of three ZEE5 original films, Barot House, Operation Parindey and Yaara.
Poster Girl Of Web Shows
Lust Stories, Sacred Games, Ghoul, Raat Akeli Hai, OK Computer.
If there is a poster girl of Indian web shows, it is Radhika Apte. Starting in theatre in Pune, she has had an exciting and eclectic acting career. Apte’s first lead role was in the Bengali film Antaheen (2009), co-starring Aparna Sen, Sharmila Tagore and Rahul Bose. She has since acted in his films across languages – her mother tongue Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali and English. In the web space, her output has been just as wide-ranging: the Netflix anthology film Lust Stories, the sweeping thriller series Sacred Games and the horror mini series Ghoul. In addition to working in both independent and commercial Indian cinema, Apte has played stellar roles in international films such as Michael Winterbottom’s The Wedding Guest and Lydia Dean Pilcher’s A Call to Spy. Her latest web appearances have been in the Netflix thriller Raat Akeli Hai and the Disney+Hotstar series OK Computer.
Ek Prem Katha With Acting
Mirzapur, Season 2 of Permanent Roommates
Divyenndu, best known for his role in the Amazon Prime crime series Mirzapur, was born and raised in Delhi where he was involved in theatre before he made the move to Mumbai. After a small role in the Madhuri Dixit-starrer Aaja Nachle, Divyenndu featured in two romantic comedies that catapulted him into the limelight – Luv Ranjan’s Pyaar Ka Punchnama and David Dhawan’s Chashme Buddoor. His big screen acting career has been benefited from the two commercial films that director Shree Narayan Singh cast him in – Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, starring Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar, and the social satire Batti Gul Meter Chalu, with Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor. His first foray in the web space was via a cameo in Season 2 of Permanent Roommates.
Language Doesn’t Matter
Mirzapur, Made In Heaven, Raat Akeli Hai, The Illegal.
Delhi-born Shweta Tripathi is best known for her performances in Neeraj Ghaywan’s directorial debut Masaan (a film that premiered in Cannes) and the popular Amazon Prime web series Mirzapur, in which she plays the sprightly Golu Gupta. In a career that is barely a decade old, the actress has toted up an interesting line-up of films that includes her Tamil-language debut Mehandi Circus (2019) and the inventive sci-fi film Cargo, directed by Aarti Kadav and released on Netflix (2020). Her first screen role was in Trishna (2011), a UK-India co-production written and directed by Michael Winterbottom with Riz Ahmed and Freida Pinto as the leads. Last year, Tripathi had two other Netflix releases, Raat Akeli Hai, co-starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Danish Renzu’s Indo-American film The Illegal. Siddiqui was also her co-actor in the dark social drama Haraamkhor (2017). In 2019, the actress appeared in an episode of Amazon Prime’s Made in Heaven.
Roots In Theatre
Scam 1992, Vitthal Teedi
The Surat-born Pratik Gandhi started his acting career in theatre and Gujarati cinema. After appearing in several plays, he hit the big time as a screen actor with the Gujarati film Wrong Side Raju (2016). It went on to win the National Award for the Best Gujarati Film. It wasn’t until Scam 1992 came out on SonyLIV that Gandhi became a nationally known name. The series has him in the role of Harshad Mehta, the stockbroker who masterminded one of India’s biggest-ever financial scandals. The series has catapulted the actor into Mumbai cinema orbit and he has begun to land roles in Hindi films. Gandhi has also played the lead role in the web series Vitthal Teedi, which was released on OHO Gujarati in early May.
Actor, Writer & Director
Family Man, Scam 1992, A Viral Wedding
Hyderabad-born Shreya Dhanwanthary has two breakthrough web shows behind her. In The Family Man, top-lined by Manoj Bajpayee, she holds her as Zoya, a punctilious analyst in an anti-terrorism outfit. Playing another professional, a business journo this time around, in Scam 1992, a financial scandal web series directed by Hansal Mehta. Her performance as the real-life journalist Sucheta Dalal, has earned her positive reviews all around. Dhanwanthary made her big-screen debut in the Telugu-language film Josh (2009) starring Naga Chaitanya and Karthika, following it up with Sneha Geetham (2010). Her first Hindi film was Why Cheat India, co-starring Emraan Hashmi. The multi-talented actress wrote and directed A Viral Wedding, an Eros Now mini-series in which she also played the lead role. Loop Lapeta, the official Hindi remake of Tom Tykwer’s Run Lola Run, is scheduled to be Dhanwanthary’s next release.
On A ‘High’
Selection Day, Flesh, High.
New Jersey-born Akshay Oberoi has strong screen presence, which he presses into the service of every role that he plays, be it on the big screen or in a web show. When Oberoi moved to Indian armed with years of training in acting, jazz and ballet, he worked with Makarand Deshpande in Prithvi Theatre. He made his debut in Sooraj Barjatya’s Isi Life Mein. The film did not click but Oberoi was on his way. Isi Life Mein helped him prove that he had the chops to handle more challenging roles. He did just that in Gurgaon, a crime drama in which he plays the wayward son of a wealthy man with intelligence and a sense of balance. He also headed the cast of the horror film Pizza with panache. In the last few years, Oberoi has been seen in several web shows, including Selection Day (Netflix), Flesh (Eros Now) and High (MX Player).
Carving A Niche
TVF Pitcher, TVF Tripling, Permanent Roommates, Made in Heaven
Maanvi Gagroo has surmounted entrenched body image barriers to carve a niche for herself in Hindi films and web shows. The Delhi-born actress appeared in web shows like TVF Pitcher, TVF Tripling, Permanent Roommates, and Made in Heaven before Four More Shots Please!. happened to her. In the breezy Amazon Prime series, which has had two successful seasons, Gagroo plays a girl who is a part of a quartet of spunky, self-willed women fighting male domination and gender biases. Gagroo’s big screen appearances have been in Ujda Chaman, a comedy which released in 2019, and the Ayushmann Khurrana starrer Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan, a humour-laced drama about same-sex love. Her other films are PK, Tu Hai Mera Sunday, Aamras and the Hotstar movie Guy in the Sky.
Her Game Is On
Mirzapur, Beecham House, The Gone Game, Crackdown
Mirzapur actress Shriya Pilgaonkar began her acting career in 2013 with the Marathi film Ekulti Ek. It was written and directed by her father Sachin Pilgaonkar, who also acted in the film along with his wife Supriya Pilgaonkar. Shriya’s performance in the film fetched her multiple accolades. She subsequently landed roles in two big films – Fan, produced by the YRF banner and starring Shahrukh Khan, and the Indo-French co-production Un Plus Une, directed by the Oscar-winning Claude Chabrol. In the French film, she played the role of an Indian dancer and actor. Besides Mirzapur, Shriya has been in Gurinder Chaddha’s British historical series Beecham House, set in India during the Mughal era, The Gone Game, shot entirely during the pandemic-induced lockdown, and Apoorva Lakhia’s spy thriller Crackdown (both for Voot).
Rapid Strides In Digital Sphere
The Family Man Seasons 1 and 2, Bhaukaal, TVF’s Aspirants
Indore-born BITS Pilani graduate and FTII acting alumnus Sunny Hinduja began his career playing meaty roles in niche independent cinema, including his debut in the experimental Ballad of Rustom, directed by Ajita Suchitra Veera. In 2017, his collaboration with Pakistani filmmaker Shazia Ali Khan yielded the feature film Pinky Memsaab. The moderate success in the independent cinema space notwithstanding, Hinduja has made rapid strides in the digital sphere. The young actor has in recent years garnered widespread critical and audience appreciation for his roles in Bhaukaal, TVF’s Aspirants and Chacha Vidhayak Hai Hamare, in which he is cast as the main antagonist. Hinduja played Milind in The Family Man Seasons 1 and 2 (Amazon Prime Video).
From Hyderabad To Cannes
Mirzapur, A Suitable Boy, OK Computer, She
Hyderabad-born Vijay Varma, who began as a theatre actor in his hometown and then trained in the Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India, was first noticed globally in Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout, which premiered in the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. The actor had another film in Cannes in 2018 – Nandita Das’s Manto, while Zoya Akhtar’s Gully, co-starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, premiered in Berlin in 2019. His career, however, had commenced a few years earlier with well-received roles in films like Chittagong and Pink. Most recently, Varma was seen in the Hotstar series OK Computer, which was preceded by Mira Nair’s BBC One series A Suitable Boy. The actor played a dual role in Mirzapur and a violent criminal in the Netflix series She. Two of Varma’s recent films – Banfaad and Yaara – went direct to the Zee5 streaming service.
Part Of Oscar Journey
The Family Man, Asur, Scam 1992, Pagglait
Sharib Hashmi began his acting career with an uncredited appearance in Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire and a supporting role in Yash Chopra’s final film Jab Tak Hai Jaan, starring Shahrukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma. He then played the main character in Nitin Kakkar’s Filmistaan, which premiered at the Busan International Film Festival in 2012. Hashmi, whose fame now rests primarily on the Amazon Prime web show The Family Man, in which he plays the principal associate of the protagonist Srikant Tiwari (Manoj Bajpayee). His filmography includes Vodka Diaries, Batti Gul Meter Chalu, Nakkash, Ujda Chaman, Ram Singh Charlie (a film he co-wrote and had a cameo in) and Pagglait, which Netflix released in March 2021. Hashmi has also appeared in the Voot Select series Asur and the SonyLIV show Scam 1992.
Reliance Industries’ content platform Jio Studios has announced six new Malayalam film to be streamed on Jio Cinema beginning June 18. Actors Mohan Lal, Siddharth, Dileep, Nivin Pauly, director Jeethu Joseph, sound designer Resul Pookutty are major talents in these films
It’s celebration time for Malayalam films in the Reliance Industries’ content platform Jio Cinema. Beginning June 18, film buffs are in for a treat celebrating Malayalam cinema with upcoming movie marathon Malayalam Mojo. Stories from God’s own country, remarkably different across genres, content, narrative and characters that definitely need to be on every movie lovers’ must-watch list.
Jio Studios presents an eclectic mix of six exciting Malayalam titles, available with English subtitles for streaming on Jio Cinema. Varying in themes, treatment and characterization – critically acclaimed films to major box office successes from one of the most prolific film industries in the country, these include two straight to digital releases as well as previously released films having their digital premieres.
Films for all moods, ranging from period dramas to comedies, thrillers to satires, backed by celebrated talent that include actors Mohan Lal, Siddharth, Dileep, Nivin Pauly, director Jeethu Joseph, sound designer Resul Pookutty and many more, don’t miss these diverse titles streaming from June 18 onwards.
IN JIO PLATFORM Release Date: June 19 Release Type: Digital Premiere Genre: Satirical- Thriller Cast: Dileep, Siddharth, Murali Gopy, Namitha Pramod Director: Rathish Ambat
ABOUT THE FILM: Kammaran lives an aimless and immoral life as he betrays those who have helped him. But his life changes for the better when he meets Subhash Chandra Bose and joins the Indian freedom struggle.
With Sound Design by Academy Award winning Resul Pookutty, Kammara Sambhavam was much feted with the film bagging the National Film Award for Best Production Design – Banglan, the Kerala State Film Awards for Best Costume Design – Sameera Saneesh & Best Art Director – Vineesh Banglan.
IN JIO PLATFORM Release Date: June 25 Release Type: Digital Premiere Genre: Drama Cast: Master Alok, Unni Mukundan, Reema Kalingal, Vinay Forte Director: Harikumar
ABOUT THE FILM: The movie is based on the real-life story of Edmund Thomas Clint, the child prodigy, who left the world at the age of seven, leaving behind around 25,000 drawings and paintings.
With music by The Maestro Ilaiyaraaja, Clint was the Official Selection at numerous festivals including PIFF, BIFF, ICFFI, KIFF & DIFF.
IN JIO PLATFORM Release Date: July 1 Release Type: Straight to Digital Genre: Drama Cast: Baby Meenakshi, Linda Arsenio Director: Vijeesh Mani
ABOUT THE FILM: Based on the friendship between a 13 year old girl Baby Meenakshi and an American tourist Linda Arsenio and the hurdles they had to face, when they tried to save a polluted river. The film is completely shot in a river, a first in world films statistics.
Mr. and Ms. Rowdy
IN JIO PLATFORM Release Date: July 4 Release Type: Digital Premiere Genre: Comedy Cast: Kalidas Jayaram, Aparna Balamurali Director: Jeethu Joseph
ABOUT THE FILM: Directed by award winning director of Drishyam- Jeethu Joseph, the core plot of Mr & Ms Rowdy revolves around Appu and his group of friends, who have a ‘Rowdy’ image. They are small-time goons who want to take up big works. Things take a turn when they come across a girl during one of the tasks that they take up. What happens rest has been narrated in Mr & Ms Rowdy.
IN JIO PLATFORM Release Date: July 7 Release Type: Digital Premiere Genre: Family Drama Cast: Sreenivasan, Dhyan Sreenivasan Director: V M Vinu
ABOUT THE FILM: A retired military service man nick named Kuttyamma (Sreenivasan) has become a nuisance to others in his village by his gimmicks and blunders. But later, the whole country flatters him positively.
The future of Indian digital and OTT services are bright. India’s streaming growth prospects are growing at a much higher speed in current times that what it would have taken few years to adapt to.
Moderated by Prashanth Rao, Partner & Leader, Deloitte India, M & E Consulting, content leaders and technology providers in the panel were bullish on digital services growth in nook and corner of the country. The session was titled Content, technology & business models: The future of digital services. This session was organised during Fast Track Digital Series, part of the FICCI Knowledge Series, on the role of the digital economy to revitalize economic growth.
Kranti Gada, Chief Operating Officer, Shemaroo Entertainment Limited reasoned that Covid-19 has fastened digital video adoption and consumption in a big way. “I would really give credit to the OTT players and video platforms for encouraging a very active content system, which is drawing audiences for content to the phone, which is not available on television and other media,” said Kranti Gada.
Kranti predicted that ad revenue on digital for the current year will exceed or come on par with television advertising. The big challenge according to Kranti is find a robust payment ecosystem for the bottom of the pyramid viewers.
Saugata Mukherjee, Head of Original Content – SonyLIV maintained that content will remain the king, however technology will be the kingmaker. “We are very keen to tell stories which are intrinsically Indian. Sony Liv’s Scam 1992 has become a cult story one,” said Saugata.
Vinit Mehta, Director-New Business, Brightcove said India’s robust digital infrastructure and scalable technology ecosystem were reasons for improved viewer experience. “We have made the technology fast, simple and scalable,” said Vinit Mehta.
Vinit added that Brightcove has technologies in the space called context aware encoding, which uses AI and machine learning to optimize the bitrate ladder, depending on the motion in the video, thereby saving around 30 to 50% cost of bandwidth and storage expenses.
Karthik Nagarajan, Head-Content, Wavemaker predicted surge in regional consumption and availability of shows in many Indian languages. “One thing that I foresee happening in OTT in a fairly big way is the availability of content in multiple languages within India. That will change the dynamics of what’s happening in India,” said Karthik Nagarajan.
The big challenge in the OTT platforms is to find a robust payment ecosystem for the bottom of the pyramid viewers
Now that the OTT services and digital news aggregators have been brought under the ambit of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, streaming executives are hoping that the new regulatory guidelines may not lead to censorship of creative expression.
Content creators and OTT platform leaders deliberated on ‘Digital content regulation: Learning from best global practices’ at FICCI’s Knowledge Series Fast Track Digital.
Tarun Katial, Chief Executive Officer, ZEE5 India, said the government has always encouraged the industry to come up with a self-regulation code and supportive of content diversity. “Unlike other places, there has been no show that the government has ever said should be pulled out unless it was issues of pornography,” said Katial.
Ajay Chacko, Co-Founder & CEO, Arré, did not favour any regulation. “My simple point is that if you’ve seen industry grow with less regulation, relative self declaration, or offering informed choices to people, maybe it’s time to liberalize cinema, TV, print, and radio,” opined Chacko.
Karan Bedi, CEO, MX Player said the right way forward would be to create a framework of standard practices that would be common to all platforms and settle on a denominator acceptable to all. “I think it’s only a matter of time where we come up with a set of standards that are acceptable to all.”
Gourav Rakshit, Chief Operating Officer, VOOT favoured self-regulation. “We have robust laws of the land to protect against content that’s inflammatory. The ability to be able to narrowcast to an audience and provide age-gating capability is what will take our existing framework forward. We are optimistic to work with the government on this self regulation process,” said Rakshit.
Sanjeev Lamba, Executive Producer, Hungama Originals, pointed out that having an informed audience, free to make their own choices, was as important as establishing clear and consistent guidelines in self-regulation.
Vivan Sharan, Partner – Koan Advisory Group, said self regulation is step in right direction. “I would sit down and actually create a list on what I think is a reasonable standard,” he said.
We have robust laws of the land to protect against content that’s inflammatory. The right way forward would be to create a framework of standard OTT practices
Are you looking to take time from your regular binge watching?
For global non-fiction fans, a new streaming platform from Studio XTR and late Zappos founder and visionary Tony Hsieh is avalable premium viewing experience on any device. Documentary+ platform is free to watch, but with ads.
With a large curated collection, the Documentary+ film library ranges from Academy Award-winners to festival darlings and critically acclaimed films. Documentary+ has a highly curated selection of award-winning films and nominated filmmakers including Spike Jonze, Kathryn Bigelow, Terrence Malick, Brett Morgen, Andrea Nevins, Roger Ross Williams, Zana Briski, Davis Guggenheim, and Werner Herzog, as well as up-and-coming filmmakers including Lana Wilson (Miss Americana), Ramona S. Diaz (A Thousand Cuts), Nanfu Wang (One Child Nation), Clay Tweel (Gleason), Kareem Tabsch (Mucho Mucho Amor), and Laura Gabbert (Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles).
“There has never been a more exciting time for nonfiction — we’re seeing visionary new directors emerge and streaming has given documentary films wide new global audiences,” said Bryn Mooser, co-founder of Documentary+ and CEO of XTR. “With Documentary+, not only are we building a home for some of the best documentary films of our time, but we’re giving filmmakers another option for distribution as competition continues to increase. The COVID pandemic created this great digital acceleration and we are building Documentary+ to be a key cornerstone in the future of the industry.”
XTR CEO Bryn Mooser in his interviews had said Documentary+ service is designed to feel curated, personal, like the [Criterion Channel] for non-fiction.
Since the company’s inception, XTR has invested into over 40 documentaries including You Cannot Kill David Arquette, Feels Good Man, 76 Days, Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets, The Fight and more.
The library includes classics like The Imposter, Born into Brothels, Cartel Land, My Best Fiend, and Life, Animated, and features pop culture icons like Michael Jordan (One Man and His Shoes), Christian Dior (Dior and I), Evel Knievel (Being Evel), Janis Joplin (Festival Express), and Pearl Jam (Hype!) alongside important political and historical figures like Cory Booker (Street Fight), Elian Gonzalez (Elian), and Neil Armstrong (Armstrong).
Documentary+ is available for free on all streaming platforms including Apple TV, Amazon and Roku, mobile devices and www.docplus.com.
The winning team of LUST STORIES unite to tell some spine – chilling tales. Ghost Stories is an upcoming 2020 Indian anthology horror film, consisting of four short film segments.
Director: Homi Adajania Starring: Irrfan Khan, Radhika Madan, Deepak Dobriyal
Streaming on Disney+hotstar
An unassuming mithai shop owner and single father is set to fulfil his daughter’s dream to study in London. However, certain misadventures lead him and his family on a new quest, which renews their relationships and bonds.
Heritage Online is an innovative service offered by Locarno Pro, with the aim to expand the horizons of Video On Demand and its global catalogue in order to include the past
For the Future of Films, Locarno Pro remains an international hub for the independent film industry even in this “standby” year. The virtual Locarno Pro will launch Heritage Online, which aims to fill a void within the international film industry, with a platform where past and future go hand in hand.
Heritage Online is an innovative service offered by Locarno Pro, with the aim to expand the horizons of Video On Demand and its global catalogue in order to include the past. This unprecedented tool, a connective tissue that was previously unavailable to the international industry, will ideally bring the Lumière brothers next to the Marvel heroes.
Thanks to Heritage Online, rights holders (international sales agents, film archives, institutes, restoration companies) will be able to share their catalogues with potential clients, that is to say VOD platforms, from the giants in the field to smaller entities. By accessing this database of international film history, streamers will be able to view detailed information, including specifics concerning rights, and watch the submitted films. Locarno Pro is launching Heritage Online Platform enabling distribution of Heritage Films connecting right holders of classic films (premiered before 2006) and online OTT and VoD platforms.
During the days of Locarno Pro, on August 8, the catalogues of a selection of companies and institutions participating to Heritage Online will be promoted through a newsletter and the website. Moreover, the topic of heritage and library films’ distribution on streaming services will be discussed in a Round Table that will be streamed online on August 8.
“We believe that this initiative can really increase the circulation of Heritage and Library Films in what we think will soon be (or is already in most territories) the new standard for Home Video: Streaming Services,” says Heritage Online Project Manager Markus Duffner.
“Locarno Pro is always responsive to the needs of industry professionals. Its mission is to create tools that help people in cinema to work even more effectively. Our new project Heritage Online fills a gap in the audiovisual industry landscape and will foster links between rightsholders, VOD platforms and world cinema distribution,” says Duffner.
Heritage Online is a B2B platform and Heritage Films right holders can do a selection of their catalogue on the platform for a basic subscription of chf85 (Approx Rs 6400) A premium subscription priced at chf160 (Rs 12,000) for enables right holders to include one film in the Online Screening Room, where potential clients have the chance of streaming a selection of titles.
Subscription for VoD broadcasters is free. By creating a private account via free sign-up, they will be able to access the database and, like all other professionals with an account, take part in virtual meetings, pitches and roundtables. Starting in 2021, Heritage Online will be available via yearly subscription or a Locarno Pro accreditation.
Heritage Online offers film professionals a year-round database where streamers (and other buyers) will be able to watch available titles, consult their detailed technical information, including availability of films in the various territories, and get in touch directly with rights holders.
Heritage Online Project Manager Markus Duffner speaks
What’s the objective behind this? Will it continue beyond Locarno Pro Days?
With the absence of DVD distribution in favor of a dominating Online Streaming market – the distribution window that was dedicated to Heritage Films has shifted towards the second option. However, we think that Streaming Platforms are still looking mainly for recent and new content, rather than filling this gap left by the growing absence of DVDs. There are of course some great exceptions (MUBI, Criterion Channel, i.e.,) and our aim is to connect the Heritage Right Holder with Streaming content buyers (also Theatrical, TV, DVD buyers, Festivals and other film professionals can register to Heritage Online) through a year-round online Database dedicated to Heritage and library content (eligible titles are those that have premiered before 2006).
What’s the response among participating countries?
We have launched only a couple of weeks ago, but we already count registered users from all continents. We got a great feedback from both Right Holders and Streamers (VOD Platforms) since the early days of the project and we’re receiving more requests every day. I believe that the project will live throughout the year, gaining more and more importance with time.
Will Cinemalovers be able to watch films from Heritage Online?
The Online Database and its Screening Room is only accessible to film professionals with a registered account. I believe many of us in this industry are also cinemalovers (smiles).
A man is brought in by an infertility doctor to supply him with his sperm, where he becomes the biggest sperm donor for his clinic.
Director: Shoojit Sircar
Nautanki Saala! (2013)
Streaming on Disney+hotstar
An actor’s life changes dramatically when he saves a stranger from suicide.
Director: Rohan Sippy
Streaming on youtube Movies
It is a slice-of life comedy when recession strikes and the lack of money tests love. Is living on love and fresh air really possible?
Director: Nupur Asthana
Streaming on Disney+hotstar
The film which is based on the life on an Indian scientist Shivkar Bapuji Talpade, who is credited to have constructed India’s first unmanned plane is the tale of the hardships that he went through on the journey to discover. Also the film is set in the pre-independence era of Bombay of 1895.
Director: Vibhu Puri
Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015)
Streaming on youtube Movies
Prem and his oversized wife Sandhya are supposed to spend a lifetime together. Will a regular arranged marriage turn out to be a perfect mismatch?
Director: Sharat Katariya
Meri Pyaari Bindu (2017)
Streaming on youtube Movies
Childhood friends Abhimanyu and Bindu face friction when she realises that she does not love him after a brief relationship. After getting famous, Abhimanyu decides to pen a story based on his life.
Director: Akshay Roy
Bareilly Ki Barfi (2017)
Streaming on Netflix
Set in the small-town of Bareilly, Bitti is a free-spirited young girl who lives life on her own terms and refuses to be pressured into getting married. Her life takes a shift when she meets Chirag Dubey and Pritam Vidrohi.
Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari
Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (2017)
Streaming on Eros Now, youtube movies
A couple fall in love but then the groom discovers that he suffers from erectile dysfunction.
Director: R. S. Prasanna
Streaming on Netflix
A series of mysterious events change the life of a blind pianist, who must now report a crime that he should technically know nothing of.
Director: Sriram Raghavan
Badhaai Ho (2018)
Streaming on Disney+hotstar
A man is embarrassed when he finds out his mother is pregnant.
Director: Amit Sharma
Article 15 (2019)
Streaming on Netflix
In the rural heartlands of India, an upright police officer sets out on a crusade against violent caste-based crimes and discrimination.
Director: Anubhav Sinha
Dream Girl (2019)
Streaming on ZEE5
Rom-com Movie, directed by Raaj Shaandilyaa, stars Ayushmann Khurrana who plays a ‘dream girl’. In every love story, there is always one trying to win the heart of the other, who could be the ‘dream girl’.
Director: Raaj Shaandilyaa
Streaming on Disney+hotstar
It tells the story of a man who is balding prematurely and how he copes up with the situation.
Director: Amar Kaushik
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (2020)
Streaming on Amazon prime
The road to achieving a happy ending is a little too rough for two guys Kartik and Aman. While Aman’s family tries hard to battle his love for Kartik, Kartik isn’t prepared to step back until he marries Aman.
Director: Hitesh Kewalya
Gulabo Sitabo (2020)
Streaming on Amazon prime
Two scheming men get caught up in a game of one upmanship, each one attracting other members to their clan and each one with an agenda of his own.