Akshay Kumar’s ‘Ram Setu’ to mark Amazon Prime Video’s first Bollywood production

Akshay Kumar’s ‘Ram Setu’ to mark Amazon Prime Video’s first Bollywood production
Courtesy: Amazon Prime Video India

Amazon.com's Prime Video will co-produce a Bollywood film, marking the streaming giant's foray into film production in India.

The South Asian nation is one of Amazon's fastest growing Prime Video markets, where founder Jeff Bezos has said it is doing better than anywhere else in the world.

Amazon Prime Video and two studios will produce ‘Ram Setu’, a film starring actor Akshay Kumar, it said in a statement, without mentioning a release date.

"We are delighted to further take a step into co-producing by collaborating with a film that highlights our Indian heritage," said Vijay Subramanium, the head of content at Amazon Prime Video India.

The film's title is the Hindi name for Adam's Bridge, a chain of limestone shoals linking the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu to the neighbouring island nation of Sri Lanka. Indian mythology holds that the bridge was built by an army led by the Hindu god Lord Rama.

In India, Amazon's Prime loyalty programme, which offers free delivery, early access to deals during sales and free music and video streaming, costs $13.77 a year.

Despite its promise, India is also a market in which Amazon recently had to issue a rare public apology for hurting religious sentiment over some scenes in its original TV series ‘Tandav’. Public outcry over obscenity and religious depictions are common in culturally sensitive India, but the ‘Tandav’ issue snowballed as police questioned Amazon India's head of original content for Prime Video for hours following official complaints.

One scene from the show removed by Amazon after release was around a stage play where a person acting as the Hindu god Shiva seeks suggestions on how to increase his social media following after someone says Lord Rama was becoming very popular online.

That controversy has put Bollywood, Amazon Prime Video and rivals such as Netflix on edge, prompting closer scrutiny of scripts for possible offence to religious sentiment in a key growth market.

Unlike films, content on video streaming platforms currently face no censorship in India.

(Reuters)

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