Mumbai, Nov 29 (IANS): Bollywood personalities such as Manoj Bajpayee, Vishal Bharadwaj, Pratik Gandhi and Guneet Monga talked about how South Asian content has broken barriers and gone ahead creating waves internationally.
ZEE5 Global has announced a strategic move to aggregate multiple South Asian streaming platforms within the ZEE5 Global platform with the launch of Add-ons in the US.
The ZEE5 Global Add-ons will offer subscribers in the US a single-window to access South Asian entertainment platforms on the platform itself.
In a panel, when asked how the audiences have changed viewing content, Manoj saidthat earlier he would visit his friends or relatives in the US, “there was someone in that crowd and in that party who would come and talk to me and there was one person who always came to me and not just to me but to whole lot of people who were making the kind of cinema that the whole of diaspora wasn’t watching it”.
"Diaspora was only talking to me about 'Veer-Zara', which started irritating me. I could also see a few percentage of that crowd which were not with those kind of films but they were there and I could see some hope in that crowd I realise it’s going to take time but I did not know when but it will happen I was praying. I did not know it will happen so soon,” he shared.
ZEE5 Global Add-ons currently offers content across languages from streaming platforms like Simply South (all South Indian languages), Oho Gujarati (Gujarati), Chaupal (Punjabi, Bhojpuri, Haryanvi), NammaFlix (Kannada), EPIC ON (Hindi) and iStream (Malayalam) with at least six more being onboarded.
Gujarati content will be available on the platform to delight the huge Gujarati-speaking diaspora in the US.
Revealing what makes Indian content competitive at a global stage, Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global, told IANS: “Beautiful storytelling. We have the most vibrant culture and ethos and our ability to tell stories have been from time immemorial has been fascinating. Bollywood has had a cross over appeal even way back in the times of Raj Kapoor’s songs… 29 states and 29 film industries so the idea is to better market to a global audience.”
When asked by moderator Anupama Chopra if he sees the way people are perceiving South Asian stories or is it just film festival based, director Vishal Bhardwaj, whose ‘Maqbool', travelled to the Toronto and Marakesh Film Festivals said: “I think the whole process started many films and filmmakers contributed to that. I think it started with Shekhar Kapur with the 'Bandit Queen' and Manoj has been part of all these movements…
"We were taken as people dancing around the trees but then what Rehman did was incredible, another film that made a mark was 'Lunchbox'.”
Bhardwaj said that when 'Maqbool' went to Toronoto, he wasn’t expecting anything.
“Because I thought my film wouldn’t be taken seriously, now with humility I want to say that many people are doing doctorote and dissertations in my mythology... In all my Shakespeare trilogy… we are part of that wave. When we would cross that and look back we would realise how many people have contributed,” he added.
Guneet said that India is making brilliant content and as a “producing geek” she thinks how to take it far and how can she add value.
“We are a 100 per cent equity industry but if we can constantly expand our footprint that started from 'Gangs Of Wasseypur'….which very few people know was the first Indian 5 and a half hour film released as an eight part mini series in US on Netflix and that’s a deal that I fronted and I was very excited that I was able to break through in 2012 and 2013 a mini series on a new format.“
Guneet strongly feels that the Indian break out is waiting to happen.
“But we are moving forward. Content wise we are doing very good I think there is a bridge that needs to be made.”