Disney Announces Mahabharata Adaptation on Hotstar to Spice Up Local Content

ANAHEIM: Disney+ Hotstar, Walt Disney’s video streaming platform, will premiere an adaptation of the mythological epic Mahabharata. This will be an ambitious, big-budget project in collaboration with Bollywood producer Madhu Mantena, known for Bombay Velvet and Udta Punjab.

Speaking at D23 Expo, an annual fan event in Anaheim, California, Gaurav Banerjee, head of content and development, Disney+ Hotstar and HSM (Hindi-speaking market) entertainment network, Disney Star, said the show, whose cast is being finalized, said this will premiere in 2024 and is co-produced by Mantena, Mythoversestudios and Allu Entertainment.

The other project in the works is Showtime, starring Emraan Hashmi, set in the Indian film industry and co-produced by Karan Johar’s Dharmatic Entertainment, which will air in 2023.

Johar’s talk show Koffee With Karan is the most successful talk show in India according to Banerjee. The seventh season is the most-watched digital show in the country every week, he added. It will also return for Season 8, which will be co-produced by Johar’s company.

Of Disney+’s 221 million paid subscribers worldwide, Hotstar accounts for about 58 million, Disney said. The service is only known as Hotstar in India, Indonesia and some other Asian markets.

“Our philosophy for our D2C services is that there is no one size fits all. While all of our global brands such as Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars are available across our various platforms, we understand that some of these may not resonate well with local audiences in certain markets,” said Rebecca Campbell, chair, international content and operations at Walt “Disney. Disney is looking at content voids,” Campbell said, or in other words, he’s trying to invent local stories with well-known talent. “We’re trying to come up with something that works locally and then see if the stories can.” to travel.”

In addition to retaining the satellite television rights to the IPL (Indian Premier League), Campbell said the company will stream the Australian Cricket League, the International Cricket Council (ICC) and other sports offerings in the coming months, which will complement its film and general entertainment offerings . Disney’s linear TV channels reach 700 million monthly viewers in India thanks to offerings in nine languages, she added.

After losing the rights to live stream Indian Premier League matches for the next five years, Disney+ Hotstar is scrambling to improve its entertainment content and prevent subscribers from leaving the platform, particularly in India. Viacom18, owned by Reliance Industries, recently acquired the digital streaming rights to the IPL at Rs. 23,758 crore for 2023-27.

Aside from Koffee With Karan, Hotstar has achieved success with local originals such as Aarya with Sushmita Sen, Ajay Devgn’s Rudra: The Edge of Darkness, as well as the post-theater premiere of Kamal Haasan’s Tamil hit Vikram. Although no official announcement has been made yet, it has hinted at a collaboration with Bollywood star Kajol.

At Friday’s D23 Expo, Disney announced a sequel to its animated hit Inside Out, alongside international originals like Win or Lose and Elio.

Lata Jha was at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim at the company’s invitation.

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