Tag Archives: Streaming Video

Streaming Video News: September 24, 2021

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with today’s premiere of Season 2 of Kota Factory. On Wednesday, Netflix debuted its Original Kannada docu-series Crime Patrol: Indian Detectives, which has dubbed audio options in English and Hindi. Other additions from earlier in the week include the late-’90s Tamil films Avvai Shanmughi, Jeans, and Minsara Kanavu.

Nineteen Punjabi movies expire from Netflix on October 1. That’s half of Netflix’s current Punjabi-language catalog. For the full list of all of the Indian titles expiring in October, check out the “Expiring Soon” section near the top of my Netflix page.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with yesterday’s debut of the Tamil film Raame Aandalum Raavane Aandalum.

Today, Amazon announced its festive season lineup of big Indian (and English) titles releasing over the next couple of months. Sardar Udham (Hindi) and Udan Pirappe (Tamil) are set to debut in October, with Jai Bhim (Tamil) coming in November. Release dates for the rest of the titles — including the Malayalam movie Bhramam, Season 2 of One Mic Stand, and Dybbuk, the Hindi remake of the Malayalam film Ezra — have yet to be announced.[Disclaimer: my Amazon links include an affiliate tag, and I may earn a commission on purchases made via those links. Thanks for helping to support this website!]

Streaming Video News: September 17, 2021

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with today’s addition of the Netflix Original film Ankahi Kahaniya, an anthology of three shorts directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Abhishek Chaubey, and Saket Chaudhury. This week also saw the return of the series Dharmakshetra, Raja Rasoi Aur Anya Kahaniyan, and Stories by Rabindranath Tagore.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime because Akshay Kumar’s August theatrical release BellBottom is now available for streaming.

Finally, I finished adding all of the Hotstar content currently available on Hulu in all languages to my new list of Bollywood movies on Hulu. For now, the only sizable movie catalogs are in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu, with the Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, and Marathi catalogs consisting almost entirely of “Hotstar Specials” releases. It’s worth noting that dozens of the movies listed as currently streaming in the United States on this list from Hotstar aren’t actually available. We’ll see if they’re added over time.

Today’s new additions to Hulu/Hotstar are the new Telugu movie Maestro and the Tamil film Annabelle Sethupathi, which is also available in dubbed versions in Kannada, Telugu, and Hindi (under the title Annabelle Rathore).

[Disclaimer: my Amazon links include an affiliate tag, and I may earn a commission on purchases made via those links. Thanks for helping to support this website!]

Hotstar Content Moves to Hulu and ESPN+ in US

Hotstar’s days as a standalone streaming service are numbered in the United States. Disney — who owns Hotstar — announced Tuesday, September 1 that Hotstar’s content would be incorporated into its other streaming services before shutting down for good late in 2022. Hulu will carry Hotstar’s movies and TV series, while ESPN+ will take over Hotstar’s sports programming.

The content shift is already underway. @parikhm on Twitter sent me this screenshot from Hulu on Wednesday, with a panel advertising Hotstar content under the “Hubs” link at the top of the page.

We got even more information today via an email sent to Hotstar subscribers. In addition to sending each subscriber an offer code to upgrade to the Disney bundle (more on that in a bit), the email linked to a page listing all of the movies in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu that are already available on Hulu — find them under the “A-Z” category at the bottom of this page — as well as those films that are “coming soon.” (There are specific pages for TV shows, sports tournaments, and Hotstar Specials as well.) While most movies will make the journey to Hulu, not all will. Notable titles absent from the list include Highway, Junglee, and my beloved Creature 3D.

The movies and shows that have already moved to Hulu are no longer available on Hotstar. Clicking on Bhuj: The Pride of India‘s Hotstar link returns a 404 error. I assume this means that Bhoot Police will release on Hulu and not Hotstar on September 17. When the Indian Premier League cricket season resumes on September 19, ESPN+ will carry the games, not Hotstar.

Considering that Hotstar subscribers would need both Hulu and ESPN+ to access all (well, most) of the content previously available on Hotstar, today’s email includes an offer code allowing users to access the Disney bundle — which includes ad-supported Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+ — for the remainder of their Hotstar subscription. Getting access to all of the other Hulu and ESPN+ content plus Disney+ is a nice bonus, especially if your Hotstar subscription renewed recently. A year’s subscription to Hotstar costs $49.99, while a year’s worth of the $13.99/month Disney bundle will set you back $167.88 in total.

There’s the rub. Splitting Hotstar’s content between Hulu and ESPN+ is ultimately going to cost customers a lot more: 3x as much for the lower-tier Disney Bundle, and almost 5x as much if you want the $19.99/month Disney bundle that includes the ad-free version of Hulu ($239.88 annually).

The forced price increase is unfortunate, but par for the course for Disney in recent weeks. From charging visitors to Disney theme parks to skip the standby line at attractions (a formerly free perk) to jacking up the prices of annual passes while stripping benefits, Disney is doing all it can to squeeze every penny out of its customers.

So what are the alternatives? If you only subscribed to Hotstar for the movies and shows, a standalone Hulu subscription with ads costs $5.99/month or $59.99/year, or $11.99/month without ads ($143.88 total for one year, with no annual subscription option). [Update: on October 8, 2021, the price of ad-supported Hulu will increase to $6.99/month or $69.99/year, and ad-free Hulu increases to $12.99/month.] If you’re only interested in cricket, ESPN+ costs $6.99/month or $69.99/year. You’re still going to pay more that you have been with Hotstar, unfortunately. If you wanted to recreate Hotstar by getting annual subscriptions to both EPSN+ and (ad-supported) Hulu, it’ll run you $129.98 — almost $40 cheaper than the Disney Bundle.

For now, this merger only applies to the US. Canada doesn’t even have access to Hulu, so Hotstar lives on north of the border for the time being. In the meantime, I’m gonna rewatch Creature 3D for the millionth time while I still can.

Streaming Video News: August 27, 2021

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with today’s additions of the 2021 Telugu movie Thimmarusu and the first season of the Hindi series Kota Factory (a series Netflix acquired in order to produce a second season). Other new additions include a bunch of returning titles from Balaji Motion Pictures, which had expired from Netflix on November 15, 2020:

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with dozens of Indian titles added in the last week — mostly Tamil films released from 2016-2020. Prime also debuted a new Tamil comedy competition series LOL: Enga Siri Paappom, in which comics are challenged not to laugh at each other’s ridiculous antics.

Today, Hotstar launched the new 8-episode historical series The Empire, starring Kunal Kapoor:

[Disclaimer: my Amazon links include an affiliate tag, and I may earn a commission on purchases made via those links. Thanks for helping to support this website!]

Streaming Video News: July 29, 2021

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the early addition of Kriti Sanon’s film Mimi, which was supposed to make its global debut tomorrow. When a copy of the movie leaked online earlier this week, Netflix made it available for streaming immediately. According to Bollywood Hungama, the snafu has made Netflix reevaluate their deal with Mimi‘s producers, Maddock Films and Jio Studios.

Netflix also dropped the trailer for their new Indian Original sketch comedy competition Comedy Premium League, episodes of which debut on August 20. The show format sounds a lot like South Korea’s Comedy Big League, which also features teams of comedians competing for audience votes. One recurring segment on CBL is “Psychorus,” in which a pair of ridiculously dressed comics say nonsensical things to try and mess up a singers while they perform. Here’s Psychorus screwing with Taemin from Shinee as he sings his hit “Move“:

Hotstar also dropped a video this week announcing its slate of upcoming movies and shows, headlined by Ajay Devgn’s war drama Bhuj: The Pride of India (debuting August 13) and Saif Ali Khan’s supernatural comedy Bhoot Police (coming September 17). Variety has descriptions of all of the titles in the lineup, which includes a few returning series. Here’s Hotstar’s promo video:

Streaming Video News: July 27, 2021

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with some pretty major changes. Over the last several months, lots of Indian movies’ streaming contracts with Amazon have expired and not been renewed, meaning they are no longer available to watch for free with a Prime membership. Many of the titles are still available for rent, but loads are just gone from Amazon in the US entirely.

And when I say lots of contracts expired, I mean LOTS. Approximately 75% of the Indian titles available on Prime earlier this year are gone. At its largest, Prime’s catalog included about 3,600 Indian movies and comedy specials. My Amazon Prime page got so big that it routinely crashed my WordPress editor. After spending the last few months pulling expired content from my Prime page, I’ve found that the catalog is down to just under 1,000 Indian movies (plus about 55 TV shows).

The caveat here is that Amazon’s catalog is such a pain to navigate that I am undoubtedly missing some titles. (If it was any less annoying, I wouldn’t need to maintain my list in the first place.) But it’s clear that Amazon Prime’s Indian collection no longer dwarfs Netflix’s Indian catalog by the massive margin that it used to. Netflix has around 675 Indian movies and comedy specials at present, plus 44 TV shows/anthology series (excluding content for kids, which I list on my Netflix page but not my Prime page).

I should also note that, because Amazon is a lot less diligent about catalog maintenance than Netflix, there are a lot of duplicate entries. I found 80 titles listed more than once, plus another 30 titles in my list are separate 4K UHD versions of pre-exisiting entries. So Amazon’s Prime Indian catalog is really more like 870 titles.

Anyway, culling the expired entries from my Amazon page was a long, long, long project that should result in a more easily navigable and accurate list. I’m happy with the results, but boy am I glad to be done! — Kathy

Streaming Video News: June 11, 2021

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with today’s additions of the Tamil comedy Sarbath and the Hindi/English coming-of-age film Skater Girl. The skatepark that was constructed in Rajasthan for the filming of Skater Girl was left up and is free for public use.

This month’s paucity of new Indian releases got me wondering about the fate of the titles from Netflix’s big March 3 announcement of their slate of upcoming projects. The announcement included 13 feature films, 15 new and returning series, and 13 unscripted movies, series, and comedy specials.

Five of the films — Ajeeb Daastaans, The Disciple, Milestone, Pagglait, and Sardar Ka Grandson — have released so far, with Jagame Thandhiram and Haseen Dillruba set to join them in the coming weeks. Bombay Begums and Ray (coming out later this month) are the only series to be added. Two unscripted titles have been released as well: Searching for Sheela and The Big Day, Collection 2. In all, that’s only 11 of 41 titles accounted for.

Even though fiction series made up the bulk of the titles announced, only two have gotten release dates. I’m not sure if this was always the plan or if this is a result of pandemic-related production delays. It could be the former — a series starring Mike Myers just started filming, two years after it was announced — but recent COVID-19 shutdowns had to affect at least some of the shows (not to mention the five stand-up comedy specials that were announced).

Despite a whole lineup of series and shows, could this month’s anemic offerings be the start of an Indian content drought at Netflix? The answer is… maybe? Most of 2021’s few theatrical releases — like Roohi and Madam Chief Minister — are already on Netflix or another streaming service. But maybe the titles from the March 3 announcement are further along in production than I assume. Still, I won’t be surprised if Netflix starts throwing cash at distributors to acquire some of the titles that have been waiting for a theatrical release since last spring. The theatrical release calendar is awfully crowded, and several movies have been postponed more than once. Might be time for distributors to cash in and help bulk up Netflix’s catalog.

Hotstar has today’s other new Hindi feature release: the road trip musical Shaadisthan.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with a handful of Indian titles that have been added in the last week. I’m undertaking a massive weeding effort on the Amazon page, pulling entries that are no longer available free with a Prime membership. By the time I’m done, the page will be less than half the length of its peak several months ago.

Have a nice weekend!

Streaming Video News: June 4, 2021

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with yesterday’s premiere of the second season the Manoj Bajpayee spy series The Family Man. I recently returned from vacation, and I’m finally caught up listing all of the Indian content added to Prime over the last few weeks. Phew!

Amazon released the trailer for the Vidya Balan film Sherni, which makes its global debut on Prime on June 18.

I also updated my list Netflix of Bollywood movies on Netflix with expiration dates for two dozen Indian films and Pakistani series that are leaving the streaming service in the next month, including a quarter of the Malayalam titles currently available. Netflix hasn’t added any Indian content in June so far, but new stuff is on the way. The Hindi-English film Skater Girl (formerly Desert Dolphin) premieres June 11, followed by Dhanush’s Tamil movie Jagame Thandhiram on June 18, and the anthology series Ray on June 25. And you can always check my monthly “New Hindi & Indian Movies & Shows” post for What’s On Netflix to make sure there was nothing you missed in May.

Hotstar dropped the trailer for the road trip movie Shaadisthan starring Kirti Kulhari today. It debuts globally on Hotstar on June 11.

Streaming Video News: May 14, 2021

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with today’s additions of the 2019 Hindi film Ahaan and the docu-series Alma Matters. These follow yesterday’s addition of the 2021 Telugu film Cinema Bandi. Arjun Kapoor’s Netflix Original film Sardar Ka Grandson debuts on Tuesday, May 18.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with three big premieres yesterday: Dhanush’s Tamil film Karnan, the Hindi thriller series The Last Hour, and comedian Gaurav Gupta’s new standup special Market Down Hai.

The streaming service Zee5 — which is not available in the United States — posted a cryptic teaser on Twitter the other day, probably to appease Salman Khan fans in America who are unable to watch his new movie Radhe at home like almost everyone else in the world:

[Disclaimer: my Amazon links include an affiliate tag, and I may earn a commission on purchases made via those links. Thanks for helping to support this website!]

Streaming Video News: April 9, 2021

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with today’s debut of the new Hindi comedy Hello Charlie, starring Jackie Shroff and a gorilla. The Kannada film Yuvarathnaa landed on Prime yesterday, even though it’s still playing in theaters in the United States and India. Another film that recently ended its theatrical run — Jathi Ratnalu — joins Prime on April 11, followed by the Malayalam movie The Priest on April 14.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with yesterday’s surprise addition of the horror comedy Roohi, starring Janhvi Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao. Earlier this week, Netflix added a second collection of episodes of the wedding reality series The Big Day and the 2021 Tamil film Mandela. New Indian titles coming to Netflix next week include a bunch of cartoons for kids on April 12, the Telugu movie Uppena on April 13, and the premiere of the Netflix Original Hindi film Ajeeb Daastaans on April 16.

Last but not least, yesterday Hotstar debuted Abhishek Bachchan’s semi-biographical stock market drama The Big Bull. With Hindi theatrical releases on hold for the time being, it’s nice to have a weekend with multiple new Bollywood movies to choose from!

[Disclaimer: my Amazon links include an affiliate tag, and I may earn a commission on purchases made via those links. Thanks for helping to support this website!]