Video streaming giants, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix have stepped up their efforts to penetrate the Tamil-language market by announcing release of anthology films in the language by leading filmmakers.
Tamil is one of the dominant film, TV and streaming markets in India and content in the language is also consumed in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, U.K., U.S., Canada, the Middle East, Western Europe and Australia, where there are significant segments of Tamil speakers.
Amazon’s “Putham Pudhu Kaalai” is an anthology of five Tamil short films featuring stories of love, new beginnings, second chances, and hope, set and filmed in the times of the COVID-19 lockdown. The films include “Reunion” directed by Rajiv Menon (“Madras Beats”) starring Andrea Jeremiah “(Vada Chennai”), Leela Samson (“OK Kanmani”) and Carnatic music vocalist Sikkil Gurucharan; “Coffee, Anyone?” directed by and starring Suhasini Mani Ratnam (Tribeca-winner “Tryst With Destiny”), Anu Hasan (“Hollyoaks”) and Shruti Haasan (“Treadstone”); and “Miracle” directed by Karthik Subbaraj (“Petta”) featuring Bobby Simha (“Agni Devi”) and Muthu Kumar (“Pattas”).
The Amazon anthology also includes “Ilamai Idho Idho” directed by Sudha Kongara (Amazon original “Soorarai Pottru”) starring Jayaram (“Marconi Mathai”), Kalidas Jayaram (“Poomaram”), Urvashi (“Aravindante Athidhikal”) and Kalyani Priyadarshan (“Varane Avashyamund”); and “Avarum Naanum/Avalum Naanum,” directed by Gautham Vasudev Menon (“Queen”) starring M.S. Bhaskar (“Sivaji: The Boss”) and Ritu Varma (“Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal”).
“Putham Pudhu Kaalai” streams from Oct. 16.
The Netflix anthology, titled “Paava Kadhaigal,” features shorts by Gautham Vasudev Menon and Sudha Kongara, whose work also features in the Amazon anthology. In addition, there are shorts by Vetrimaaran (“Visaaranai”) and Vignesh Shivan (“Thaanaa Serndha Koottam”). While the streamer did not release details of individual shorts, they are united around the theme of “how love, pride and honor influence complex relationships.” The anthology features a stellar ensemble cast, including Anjali (Amazon original “Nishabdham”), Bhavani Sre (“Ka Pae Ranasingham”), Kalki Koechlin (“Sacred Games”) Prakash Raj (“Sarileru Neekevvaru”), Sai Pallavi (“Premam”), Shanthnu Bhagyaraj (“Vaanam Kottattum”) and Simran (“Petta”).
The anthology is produced by ex-Disney India head Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP Movies (“Uri: The Surgical Strike”) and Ashi Dua Sara’s Flying Unicorn Entertainment (“Lust Stories”). A streaming date has not been announced.
India’s southern languages, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada, account for 44% of the country’s box office and 48% of television film viewing.
While Amazon made a splash recently, announcing several direct to streaming premium south Indian titles , rival Disney Plus Hotstar has a vast library in the southern languages and Netflix is steadily accumulating southern content.