India, 12th December 2022: ZEE5, India and Bharat’s largest home-grown video streaming platform and multilingual storyteller for millions of entertainment seekers is all set to end the year on a delightful note as it unveiled a power-packed content slate of 10 big-ticket originals along with much awaited movies for the global Bengali diaspora starting 2023. Expanding its SVOD offerings, ZEE5 confirmed that it will eventually release a web series every month, ranging from whodunit murder mysteries, crime dramas, psychological thrillers, sleuth adventures with the quintessential Bengali comedy and romance. The high-octane slate brings forth a gamut of emotions through the unique stories on offer, featuring collaborations with the best storytellers from the region and some of the most sought-after stars of Bangla Cinema to create the next chapter of Bengali entertainment with ZEE5.
Consolidating its presence in the Eastern market, ZEE5 is one of the first national OTT players to announce an exclusive, specially curated slate in the region for its global audiences across 190+ countries.
Talking about the focus on the Bengal market, Mr. Manish Kalra, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 India said, “Bengal has been a hotbed of entertainment with both Bangla stories and talent making their presence felt on the global map. We at ZEE5 have received an overwhelming response to the titles released in the last two years from our Bangla viewers. Now it is time to expand our base in the Eastern market, connecting with the audience with more relatable stories and creating new opportunities for the talent ecosystem here. We have released a slate that shall enable viewers to watch their favorite stars in new avatars backed by intriguing plots and captivating storytelling. In addition to the Bengali slate, we have an extensive line-up of Hindi content and popular titles in other languages. I am hopeful audiences will enjoy their experience on ZEE5 as we continue to strive to bring extraordinary entertainment for them.”
Talking about the content slate for 2023, Mr. Samrat Ghosh, Chief Cluster Officer – East, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) said, “We are stoked to present the Bangla OTT viewer with a large and exclusive offering of 10 original titles and some of the best hand-picked movies from the market. We are working with the most prolific storytellers and actors who have proven not just their performance mettle in keeping the viewers hooked to what will happen next (Erpor Ki),but also earned widespread viewer love. Besides that, we have stories from different parts of West Bengal that reflect its cultural essence and the variedness of its landscape. We have stories that emerge from our Bangaliana but also reflect the challenges and the complexities of this new world we live in. We are confident that our content slate will excite the OTT Bangla viewer and address their need for pace, thrill and adventure. We look forward to their response to our bouquet of content offerings.”
Highlighting ZEE5’s content strategy, Mr. Punit Misra, President – Content and International Markets at Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd said, “Creating great content through in-depth understanding of our viewers and the cultural ethos of the many Bharats that constitute India has resulted in ZEE5’s consistent growth across languages. Our creative team has a distinctive approach to content design that we call #SoulToScreen where great viewer and cultural understanding meets inspired creativity, delivering delightful content experiences. Through partnerships with some of the finest content creators in the Bangla entertainment industry, we have been successful in curating a content slate that embodies the true cultural essence of today’s Bengal. Our content slate is reflective of the Bengali OTT viewers’ growing appetite for high-octane, edge-of-the-seat entertainment presented in a contemporary avatar that celebrates the new codes of ‘Bangaliana’. We hope that this labour of love of our team will be worthy of love & recommendations from viewers of Bangla OTT content globally.”
Presenting an entire spectrum of the thriller genre like never before, the extensive content line-up features murder-mystery Raktokarabi starring Raima Sen and Vikram Chatterjee, revolving around a Bengali joint family with an ocean of secrets. Shikarpur, featuring multiple national-award winning actor-director Kaushik Ganguly and Ankush Hazra, marking the latter’s first big fiction OTT debut, walks us through the journey of an underdog detective striving to gain the title of ‘Shikarpurer Sherlock’. Kantaye Kantaye is a series based on the detective novel ‘Shonar Kanta’ by Narayan Sanyal featuring national award-winning actress Ananya Chatterjee and will showcase Saswata Chatterjee in a never-seen-before avatar. Directed by Arindam Sil, Shabash Feluda is about Satyajit Ray’s ace detective Feluda solving a complex crime involving a murder and cross-border espionage featuring Parambrata Chatterjee and Ritwick Chakraborty in a Feluda franchise for the first time.
Chhotolok is another intriguing whodunnit human story which will keep viewers on tenterhooks. It is ace director Indranil Roychowdhury’s first OTT fiction series and features a stellar cast that includes Indrani Haldar, Priyanka Sarkar, Ushasi Ray and Gaurav Chakrabarty. While Abar Proloy will bring back the much-loved Proloy franchise by Raj Chakraborty, Swetkali, an edge-of-the-seat spooky thriller about cold-blooded murders revolving around an age-old goddess idol, will mark Oindrila’s OTT debut. Also on the line-up is legendary director Anjan Dutt’s Seven, a thriller showcasing the vices of human nature, starring the auteur himself. Completing the roster of originals are Teni Madhab Shil er Full Panjika, a quirky musical romantic thriller and Matsyanyay, which is a story about the scams of a family running a unique medicine business, coming from the house of Parambrata Chattopadhyay’s Roadshow Movies.
Director Raj Chakraborty said, “With OTT paving its way, the audience has a lot of content to select from. I am glad that we are associating with a platform like ZEE5 who believes in narrating impactful, raw and relatable stories; Abar Proloy is one such story. The web series not only has an impressive narrative but is also relatable and has an intense depiction of heinous crimes and monsters of the society. It is realistic, sensitive, unsettling with intriguing sequences that will trigger some thoughts and questions. All I can say is, brace yourselves for Abar Proloy which will soon stream ZEE5.”
Actor Parambrata Chatterjee said, “I feel there is nothing like a mystery to engage and deeply involve the audience. Essaying the character of Feluda, it was like stepping into the shoes of Sherlock. It is an honour to be recognised for Ray’s creations with marvellously sketched characters. The web series is an adventurous escapade which will get your adrenaline pumping. The guessing game will keep the audience hooked and enthralled till the end. In the world of entertainment, we are progressing with unique scripts which blend history, thrill and all the ingredients required for a perfect thriller! With ZEE5 onboard, I am sure the series will reach every length and breadth of the nation. I am really looking forward to the premiere of the series on the platform.”
The platform also has a slew of exclusive movies including the likes of Bhoy and Uttaran (with Ankush Hazra); Ananta (with Ritwick Chakraborty); Joy Kali Kolkatawali (with Nusrat Jahan & Soham Chakraborty); Mini (with Mimi Chakraborty); Boudi Canteen (Subhashree Ganguly, Parambrata Chattopadhyay); Abar Kanchanjangha (with Saswata Chatterjee & Arpita Chatterjee), Jotugriha (with Bonny Sengupta, Parambrata Chatterjee, Payel Sarkar) and Mahananda (with Gargi Roy Chowdhury & Ishaa Saha).
The star-studded event at Taj Bengal Kolkata was graced by popular personalities from the Bengali entertainment industry including Prosenjit Chatterjee, Ankush Hazra, Oindrila Sen, Kaushik Ganguly, Arindam Sil, Anjan Dutt, Indranil Roychowdhury, Raj Chakrabarty amongst others.
This line up follows the very recent exclusive, digital premieres of theatrical blockbusters like Avijatrik (featuring father-son duo Sabyasachi Chakraborty and Arjun Chakraborty), Agantuk (starring Abir Chatterjee and Sohini Sarkar), Hirokgorer Hire (featuring Soham Chakraborty, Bonny Sengupta, Koushani Mukherjee, and Ayushi Talukdar), Antardhaan (with Rajatava Dutta and Parambrata Chattopadhyay), Savings Account (starring Ankush Hazra and Sayantika Banerjee), Hridpindo (featuring Arpita Chatterjee and Shaheb Chattopadhyay), and Amrapali (directed by Raja Chanda).