Amazon Prime Video: Several stars to make OTT debut, complete lineup for 2022 announced
Amazon Prime Video announced over 40 shows, films, brand associations and features for its consumers in India
The stage is set. A blue light is shining off every corner of the room, reflecting from the bold Amazon Prime Video logo on the stage. Journalists, influencers, and mediapersons, all sit with bated breath until filmmaker Karan Johar enters and (metaphorically) sets the stage on fire.
This was the behind-the-scenes of the glamorous Prime Video Presents India, an event organised by the OTT giant where the streaming platform announced major brand associations, films, and shows slated for the year.
The biggest announcements of the evening included the unveiling of over 40 films and web series, and Amazon’s new “Early Access Ticket”, which allows members to rent movies from Amazon Prime in different languages.
Amazon Original Series
Actors Shahid Kapoor and Vijay Sethupathi announced their web series, an Amazon Original, Farzi, which will deal with the subject of counterfeit money. Created and directed by Raj and DK, the film will star Kay Kay Menon, Raashi Khanna, Amol Palekar, and Kubbra Sait as well.
Kapoor said, “I’m nervous and excited to debut on the OTT platform. I have been doing this for 18 years now and wanted a challenge. This character resonated a lot with what I wanted to do.” Sethupathi too talked about how nervous he was, but how Kapoor made him feel comfortable on the sets from day one itself.
Another Amazon original series announced at the event was Gulkanda Tales, created by Raj and DK, directed by Rahi Anil Barve, and starring Kunal Khemu, Patralekha, and Pankaj Tripathi.
Aparshakti Khurana, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sidhant Gupta, and Prosenjit Chatterjee too will feature in Vikramaditya Motwane’s Amazon original series called Jubilee, which is a period drama dwelling on the birth of Hindi Cinema.
Created by Arindam Mitra, PI Meena, a story about a troubled private investigator, will see Tanya Maniktala in the lead role, also starring Jisshu Sengupta, Vinay Pathak, and Parambrata Chattopadhyay.
From the creators of Khichdi, another light-hearted sitcom makes its way to Amazon in the form of Happy Family *Conditions Apply. Directed by Aatish Kapadia and Jamnadas Majethia, the series will feature Ratna Pathak Shah, Raj Babbar, Atul Kulkarni, and Ayesha Jhulka.
A story about a murder suspect who is desperate to prove his innocence, Shehar Lakhot, created by Devika Bhagat, will see Chandan Roy Sanyal, Kubbra Sait, and Shruthy Menon in the lead roles.
With an aim to diversify its content, and create unique yet localised stories for consumers, Prime Video also announced a number of regional language series. Dhootha, marking Naga Chaitanya’s OTT debut, directed by Vikram K Kumar, will also feature Prachi Desai and Parvathy Thiruvothu in a supernatural, horror thriller.
Sweet Kaaram Coffee, a Tamil web series about a road trip, will see Lakshmi, Madhoo and Santhy Balachandran in lead roles. Suzhal: The Vortex, featuring Kathir, Aishwarya Rajesh and Sriya Reddy, will unveil dark secrets about a small city when a big crime takes place in it, promised the cast of the show.
From the house of Pushkar and Gayatri, a Tamil web series called Vadhandhi, which will feature SJ Suryah is all ready to blow the audiences’ minds away.
A first of its kind, a graphic novel’s adaptation into a web series, The Village will tell the tale of an urban family who encounters mutants while crossing a village in the midst of the night. The show will mark Arya’s debut in an OTT web series, and will also star Divya Pillai.
Based on stories of love from NYT’s columns and adapted to give a local, unique flavour of love, Prime Video launched the trailer of Modern Love: Mumbai, while also giving a sneak-peek into glimpses of Modern Love: Chennai and Modern Love: Hyderabad. Three cities, three languages, and six stories of love in each, the global franchise finally comes to India.
Introducing Siddharth Malhotra as a supercop in Rohit Shetty’s cop-verse, Indian Police Force is set to take Indian content to global levels, believes Shetty.
Besides all of these, the platform will be releasing new seasons of Breathe: Into the Shadows, Made in Heaven, Four More Shots Please (where Jim Sarbh will also be seen), Mirzapur, Paatal Lok, Mumbai Diaries, The Family Man, Panchayat and Comicstaan.
Amazon Original Movies
Starring Madhuri Dixit Nene and Gajraj Rao, the OTT platform is all set to release Maja Maa. Talking about her film, the actress said that she’s grateful to have learnt something new on the sets each day from the lovely people she worked with.
Amazon also announced Ammu, a tale of a woman wronged, at the event.
Vikram Malhotra, the founder and CEO of Abundantia, took to the stage to share a glimpse of Ram Setu, the Akshay Kumar-starrer, that is a co-production between his company and Amazon. Other co-productions between the two include Neeyat, a Vidya Balan-starrer murder mystery, which will also feature Prajakta Koli, Shahana Goswami, Danish Rizvi, Mita Vashist and Shashank Arora. The OTT platform and Abundantia’s new web series Hush Hush also marks the debut of Juhi Chawla, and stars Soha Ali Khan, Karishma Tanna, Kritika Kamra, and Ayesha Jhulka.
With Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh SIdhwani’s Excel Entertainment, Amazon has a licensing deal that will bring five of their new movies straight to the platform after their theatrical release, including Fukrey 3, Phone Bhoot, Yudhra, Jee Le Zara, and Kho Gaye Hain Hum Kahan. Besides these, Excel Entertainment is also a co-producer on two of Amazon’s new web series, Dahaad, that has turned its lead Sonakshi SInha into an avid biker, and Bambai Meri Jaan, which outlines the stories of crime in a post-independence Mumbai, starring Kay Kay Menon.
Similar to Excel Entertainment, Amazon also announced a licensing deal with Yash Raj Films, for the films Jayeshbhai Jordaar, Shamshera, Pathan, Tiger 3, and Prithviraj. A similar deal with Ajay Devgn Films will bring Runway 34, Thank God, Drishyam 2, and Bholaa to the OTT platform.
Dharma Productions’ Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani, Jug Jugg Jeeyo and Govinda Mera Naam will also hit the OTT platform soon. Under the banner of Dharmatic, Amazon Prime will also bring out a docu-series called India Love Project, a web series Call Me Bae and a film Aye Watan Mere Watan.
Actor Kangana Ranaut, who was present at the event, to announce the co-production of Tiku Weds Sheru, with her company Manikarnika Films, talked about how her time in the film industry has come full circle. Ranaut said, “I debuted as an actor on April 28th, 2006, when Gangster released, and on April 28th, 2022, I’m debuting as a producer.” Tiku Weds Sheru will see Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Avneet Kaur in the lead roles. She added that this film is a love story set in the midst of the beauty and brutality of life.
In a new venture, Amazon Prime Video has collaborated with different forces to bring out docu-series for its audiences. The very first of these will be on Punjabi music, hip-hop, and India’s favourite brown munda, This is AP Dhillon.
The other two docu-series that wll be out soon on the OTT platform are Cinema Marte Dum Tak, which is a Vice Media production, and Dancing on the Grave, an India Today production.
Not forgetting the demographic that makes a big chunk of Prime Video’s audience, the OTT platform has three shows all ready that are everything young and adult. Jee Karda, starring Tamanna Bhatia, is a show about friendship, turbulence and trauma. While Adhura, is a supernatural horror thriller, Crash Course is a drama set in Kota about students stuck between two warring institutes.
Besides all of this, Amazon is also introducing live cricket on the platform, knowing full well how important the sport is to India, to keep up with its promise of immersive entertainment.
Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon studios, at the event talked about how the studio is trying to make Amazon, a home for talent. For consumers who are diverse, Amazon's aim is to look for artists and voices and stories that are new and unique but deeply personal. Calling Aparna Purohit, head of India Originals, a story nurturer, Salke went on to talk about how Amazon is also diversifying on its own end by giving space to more women filmmakers.
Purohit also addressed how challenging it is to find a story that speaks to one and all in a multitude where stories are present in every nook and corner. But, she added, the people at Amazon are enablers who make what Kelly Day, VP of International for Prime Video, called "very scaled but very unique experiences that are locally relevant".
(Prime Video Presents India was organised in Mumbai on April 28th, 2022, by Amazon Prime Video.)
Published: 29 Apr 2022, 8:57 AM