NEW DELHI : Hotstar, the video streaming service owned by the Star network has announced its foray into the original films category and will be releasing movies for a digital-first audience soon.

The first of these movies is titled Chhappad Phaad Ke which is a dark comedy starring Vinay Pathak, Ayesha Raza, Siddharth Menon and Sheetal Thakur. Directed by Sameer Hemant Joshi, the film that is slated for release on 18 October only on Hotstar VIP has been produced by Yoodlee Films, a division of Saregama India Ltd, that has already delivered original movies like Brij Mohan Amar Rahe and Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz on Netflix.

“At Hotstar, it has been our constant endeavour to create meaningful and thought-provoking content that raises the bar on our storytelling prowess. With the latest addition of digital-first films to our Hotstar Specials’ label, movie lovers will now be able to enjoy high concept stories – anytime, anywhere," Varun Narang, chief product officer, Hotstar said in a statement.

Siddharth Anand Kumar, vice-president, Films and Television, Saregama and one of the producers of the film said Chhappad Phaad Ke marks the start of Yoodlee Films’ association with Hotstar, in providing them meaningful cinematic content for the platform for audiences all over.

“This falls in line with our continuing commitment to make powerful stories translate on screen, that at once can be entertaining and socially relevant," Kumar said in a statement.

To be sure, streaming services in India have already taken steps towards bringing out digital-only films. Last month, Netflix announced its first original film with Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, action thriller Drive. The American streaming had initiated the process last year by releasing films like Tikli and Laxmi Bomb and Brij Mohan Amar Rahe exclusively.Kunal Khemu and Ranvir Shorey’s comedy drama Lootcase was slated to arrive in movie theatres until early October but will now be premiered exclusively online.

Hotstar, on the other hand, awaits the November 2019 launch of its highly anticipated, ad-free video streaming service, Disney+, in the US. It plans to localize Disney+ movies and shows by dubbing, or by adding subtitles in Indian languages, including Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, in the process of routing them to India. Walt Disney had acquired Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. in a $71 billion cash and stock deal in June 2018. That makes Star India, Fox Star Studios and Hotstar in India, a part of Walt Disney.

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