Amazon India’s Aparna Purohit & Gaurav Gandhi On Super-Serving India With Local Language Originals; Streamer Lining Up True Crime Push

Amazon Prime Video India bosses Aparna Purohit and Gaurav Gandhi have outlined their strategy for super-serving the country’s diverse audiences, and revealed a plan to push into true crime and investigative doc series.

In their first interview since unveiling a 40-strong slate of original films and TV shows in April, the pair said constantly engaging with the “well developed creative ecosystems” in India’s various language segments, which include Hindi and Tamil, has been key to the Amazon Prime Video’s local impact since launching there more than five years ago.

In practice, Country Manager Gandhi said this involved considerable research and insight gathering to asses what original films and shows could cut through locally and then assessing how that could transcend cultural barriers.

“Each segment is looked at in isolation first to see if we can super-serve an audience — maybe young adults or women, for example,” he said. “Then if we’re looking at a Telugu or Tamil property, where do they cross over to Hindi or other languages around the world? Then we put international content such as The Boys, Wheel of Time or Modern Love on top of that.” 

“The reason Amazon India has had a successful run is because from the beginning we’ve had local teams empowered to make decisions,” added Purohit, Amazon Prime Video India Head of Originals. “They understand the culture and the milieu. We have local boots on the ground, who understand local creators, audiences and ecosystem.”

One example is drama Modern Love, which Amazon first created in the U.S. before three Indian language versions were ordered — marking Amazon India’s entry into the niche romantic anthology genre. Hindi language Modern Love Mumbai launched earlier this month, with Tamil-language Modern Love Chennai and Telugu language Modern Love Hyderabad coming soon.

“We’ve never been afraid to try formats and storytelling of this nature — high-end limited series — is new to India in many senses,” said Gandhi. “But to build an anthology in this market is a first of its kind. The insight work that our team does here, working with customers to understand their needs, gives us a lot of confidence to try to set trends.”

Unscripted push

Elsewhere in the interview, Purohit revealed Amazon India’s next content push would come in unscripted. The company unveiled four new series in its content showcase last month and is likely to up this number. “We are now expanding our scope of unscripted and doc-series — especially in crime, true crime and investigation,” she said.

The slate announcement included Dancing on the Grave, a Hindi-language investigative true crime series from that tells the story of a sensational crime with access to exclusive interviews, shocking footage and the perpetrator himself.

The plan apes those of Amazon’s UK Head of Commissioning Dan Grabiner, who last week told Deadline of plans a suite of true crime docs that will potentially sit within one all-encompassing strand.

Amazon India will also be focusing on forfeiting more horror, sci-fi and female-focused movies and attracting younger audiences.

“We’ve had dark noirs, thrillers, mystery, patriotic shows, musicals and romance but a few things remain [outstanding]. We want more young adult content, as we want to bring people in early — India is a very young country,” said Purohit.

The company has around 70 projects in development, most of which spend up to three years in development. “The investment any show requires will never be cut short. If the creators need time, investment or workshops, international guidance we are there to provide it,” added Purohit.

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