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NEW DELHI: Telugu video streaming platform aha has announced that a new original film Intinti Ramayanam, starring Naresh, Rahul Ramakrishnan, Navya Swamy, Gangavva and Bithri Sathi will be released on 16 December. It has been produced by the makers of movies like DJ Tillu and Bheemla Nayak under the banner of Sithara Entertainments.

Video streaming platforms are placing big bets on producing original films, with Amazon Prime releasing Majaa Ma, starring Madhuri Dixit, Disney’s Star Studios promising to make them for its digital platform, Disney+ Hotstar, and Netflix lining up films with Vishal Bhardwaj, Sujoy Ghosh, and Zoya Akhtar.

Both homegrown and foreign streaming services say films are quicker to produce, film-writing talent is readily available, and viewers are more inclined to watch them. As a result, global viewing of Indian cinema was up 50% in the first half of 2022 on Netflix compared with the same period in 2021. Besides, the cost of acquiring films released in theatres is steep, making original films more financially feasible.

“India has never really had the kind of premium television it is seeing now with web shows. Audiences have only been used to cinema and linear TV so far. So even though there are writers out there, series writing is harder and takes longer to put together. On the other hand, writing for a two-hour film comes more naturally to our writers and the industry, in general," Ajit Thakur, chief executive of Aha, had said in an earlier interview to Mint.

Having premiered films, including Bhamakalapam and Senapathi, Aha is commissioning projects in Tamil and Telugu, including some that will release in theatres first and then stream exclusively on Aha. It is also easier to cast bigger actors in original digital films as it requires less of their time than, say, a series, Thakur had said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lata Jha

Lata Jha covers media and entertainment for Mint. She focuses on the film, television, video and audio streaming businesses. She is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism. She can be found at the movies, when not writing about them.
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