'Next big leap': Netflix to offer 41 new original Indian shows this year

Most of the new shows will be in Hindi

Raveena Tandon stars in Netflix Original show 'Aranyak'. Courtesy Raveena Tandon / Netflix 
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Netflix is set to release 41 shows and films in India this year, calling the move its "next big leap" in the world's second most populous nation, where the popularity of video streaming services is skyrocketing.

India, with its 1.3 billion people, is a vast and valuable market for the US streaming service and its rivals, Amazon's Prime Video and Walt Disney Co's Disney+ Hotstar.

The platforms, which are all offering an increasingly broad range of local language content, have been luring users with cheaper billing plans and offers.

Netflix's new roster of 41 titles includes films with top Bollywood actors, stand-up comedy shows and original series, the company said in a blog post. Most will be in Hindi.

"We are taking our next big leap in India," Netflix said on its post, saying the upcoming line-up "features more variety and diversity than we have seen before".

India, whose Bollywood film industry makes more productions each year than Hollywood, remains a challenging market for the streaming services.

Amazon's Prime Video has become embroiled in legal cases and police complaints over a political drama Tandav, deemed offensive to Hindu religious sentiments. The US service has apologised to viewers over some scenes.

Netflix has also faced court cases and complaints over some its content, with some viewers saying it promoted obscenity or hurt religious sentiments.

Netflix said some of its 41 shows to be released this year would be produced by India's Reliance Entertainment, Viacom18 and Bollywood director Karan Johar's Dharmatic Entertainment.

In 2019, Netflix said it planned to invest almost $400 million to develop content for India. Reuters reported last year that Netflix was in talks with Viacom18 to create shows to help expand its offerings in India.