Need a break from Netflix and US-centric television? Why not delve into the expansive world of Indian streaming?
Bollywood cinema and television wasn't always easy to come by in New Zealand. Before the streaming era, fans of Indian content had to go to specific DVD/video stores (e.g. in Dominion Road, Auckland) to rent what was known as "niche" content for Kiwis.
Not anymore. Amazon Prime, which is available for $8 a month, has an enormous catalogue of Indian streaming content available to audiences in the Asia Pacific region, including New Zealand. Many of these titles are not available to US and European audiences; we have access to not just all the Amazon Originals out of India, but also many other films and shows that Amazon has bought rights to from other Bollywood studios.
Here are our top Indian streaming picks from Amazon Prime New Zealand. If you're new to Indian TV and movies, here's your watchlist sorted.
2 hours 18 minutes. Action/crime.
"Raazi is based on a true story of a young girl, who was sent to Pakistan in 1971, to source out any information she could, as war was becoming imminent between India and Pakistan. It is the journey of an ordinary Indian girl, in extraordinary circumstances."
Nine episodes. 45-60 minutes. Second season confirmed and filming complete.
"Tara and Karan are Delhi-based wedding planners who know that India is a society in transition, with tradition clashing with modern individual aspirations. With each ceremony, they enter into the lives of a different bride and groom. The weddings Tara and Karan service introduce them to the complexities of Indian life while providing mirrors to their true selves -- Tara, a woman from the wrong side of the tracks who clawed her way up into high society through marriage and Karan, a gay man living in a country where homosexuality is illegal."
19 episodes, two seasons. 33-60 minutes.
"Srikant Tiwari (Manoj Bajpayee) is a middle-class man who also serves as a world-class spy; he tries to balance his familial responsibilities with those at the highly secretive special cell of the National Intelligence Agency. An edgy action-drama series, with a dose of satirical humour."
1 hour 44 minutes. Horror.
"A mythological story about a goddess who created the entire universe. The plot revolves around the consequences when humans build a temple for her first-born. When a family builds a shrine for Hastar, a monster who is never to be worshipped, and attempts to get their hands on his cursed wealth, they face catastrophic consequences."
2 hours 5 minutes. Dark comedy/drama.
"This salty black comedy by Dibakar Banerjee underlines the juxtaposition between class and capitalism. Filmed in Delhi’s Mahipalpur and Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand, the premise of the movie revolves around Sandeep Kaur (Parineeti Chopra), a polished employee at a corporate bank and Pinky Dahiya (Arjun Kapoor), a ruthless Haryanavi Police Officer."
Five episodes, 30 minutes. Follow up mini series to the Unpaused anthology
"Five unique filmmakers - Nupur Asthana, Ayappa KM, Ruchir Arun, Shikha Makan and Nagraj Manjule - share new stories of hope, love, connections and 2nd chances that celebrate the resilient human spirit in the uncertain times of the pandemic".
Drama/music. 2 hours 28 minutes.
"Inspired by the lives of Indian street rappers DIVINE and Naezy, the film is a coming-of-age story about aspiring street rapper Murad Ahmed (Ranveer Singh). Murad's parents have worked to get him educated so he can find a white-collar job. Instead, he finds a love for hip-hop and comes of age while using his music to highlight inequalities."
- Asia Media Centre