Hindi-language “Maja Ma,” starring Bollywood icon Madhuri Dixit Nene, is the first of many Indian original movies on Amazon Prime Video, Aparna Purohit, director of Indian originals for the streamer, has revealed.
The film is a commission from Prime Video, rather than an acquisition. “We’ve been buying movies, we’ve been putting movies directly on our service and in the last two years, we’ve put out almost 60 movies and we’ve also bought co-productions. Producing our own movies was the next logical step,” said Purohit. Variety.
Next up are movies in Telugu and Tamil languages, and movies in Malayalam and Kannada are explored. “We want to tell stories that are truly rooted in our soil, stories that are compelling, that are differentiated, in the hands of very passionate creators, with the story being the starting point for every decision. That’s the strategy,” Purohit said. “And we really want to delight our audiences spread across the country.”
The executive also said that Amazon is open to releasing movies it has produced in theaters in India.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar are among several broadcasters operating from India that have signed up to a self-regulatory code. Indian government is content to allow streamers to self-regulate, rather than be subject to the censorship board clearance that films released in theaters must obtain, as long as they remain “responsible”, information and broadcasting minister said of the country, Anurag Thakur. Variety at the beginning of this year. Streamers are expected to adhere to a digital media code of ethics.
Amazon has faced some pressure in this regard over the past year, with the original series “Tandav” taking on Hindu nationalist politicians and the streamer changing some of the allegedly offensive content. This hasn’t stopped the broadcaster from telling the stories he wants to tell, Purohit said.
“We are responsible with our audiences, with the law and we comply very much with the law of the country, we fully comply with the new content guidelines and regulations. But aside from that, audiences are evolving, their tastes and preferences are evolving,” Purohit said. “We continue to put our customers first. We will continue to put our content creators first and we will continue to tell all of our stories. Look at the stories we’ve told in the last year and a half since these content guidelines came out; in reality, nothing has changed. Are we more responsible? Surely.”
Meanwhile, the service focused on “Maja Ma,” produced by Leo Media Collective and Amritpal Singh Bindra, directed by Anand Tiwari and written by Sumit Batheja, as their first film production because the theme resonated with them.
“It’s the story of this quintessential Indian family: on the surface everything is beautiful, but quite often, as happens in any Indian family, when there’s a big festival or there’s a wedding, and everyone gets together, that’s the Es time for all the problems you swept under the rug, all the skeletons in the closet to come out into the open,” Purohit said. “And a really strong and resilient woman [Dixit Nene] with a strong agency at the core, it really ticked all the boxes for us.”
The ensemble cast also includes Gajraj Rao, Ritwik Bhowmik, Barkha Singh, Srishti Shrivastava, Rajit Kapur, Sheeba Chaddha, Simone Singh, Malhar Thakar, and Ninad Kamat.
“Maja Ma” airs from October 1. 6.