The partnership is designed to create a slate of Hindi-language originals across genres. It will kick off with “Kaun Banegi Shikharwati,” produced by Applause in association with Emmay Entertainment and directed by Gauravv Chawla and Ananya Banerjee.
A drama-comedy focusing on a dysfunctional royal family, “Kaun Banegi Shikharwati” boasts a heavyweight star cast including Naseeruddin Shah, Lara Dutta Bhupathi, Soha Ali Khan, Kritika Kamra, Anya Singh, Raghubir Yadav, Cyrus Sahukar, Varun Thakur and Anurag Sinha. It will premiere on the service in Jan. 2022.
ZEE5 has existing content partnerships with TVF, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, “Dangal” director Nitesh Tiwari and Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment. Led by Indian media industry doyen Sameer Nair, Applause is a part of the $45 billion Aditya Birla Group and is one of the foremost content creators for streamers in India, with credits including “Scam 1992” (SonyLIV), “Call My Agent Bollywood” (Netflix) and “The Office” (Disney Plus Hotstar).
Punit Misra, president, content and international markets, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, said: “While consumer intimacy is at the heart of our content creation philosophy, our content creator partners are the other crucial pillar in our approach.”
Archana Anand, chief business officer, ZEE5 Global said: “We look to bring to our viewers bold, original stories from South Asia that entertain them and resonate with them and that are brought to life by stellar actors and content creators. We are delighted to announce our partnership with Applause Entertainment to jointly create an exclusive premium slate of stories across genres that are unique and especially curated for our audiences across different countries.”
Nair said: “We are thrilled that our first outing with ZEE5 is with ‘Kaun Banegi Shikarwati,’ a light-hearted, heart-warming dramedy that is both quirky and delightful, and boasts a stellar cast of actors.”
Nikkhil Advani, producer Emmay Entertainment, said: “In a fine blend of humor and drama, ‘Kaun Banegi Shikarwati’ offers a quintessential story of Indian families that’s replete with oddities and conflicts. But at the core of it, lies unfiltered emotions that’s sure to resonate strongly with the masses.”