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Amazon Prime Video accidentally released in India for a day


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Around Tuesday morning, Amazon Prime Video accidentally released in India, a reddit post pointed out. The release was probably unintentional, since the service was only accessible through the Android app, which is not available on Google Play in India yet. The app now throws up an error and the catalogue is inaccessible.

MediaNama accessed the app and browsed the catalogue over the day, and this is what we found:

Catalogue

Amazon has several titles in Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu; there was also a relatively limited number of English-language films. The service also featured quite a few major features, like Sultan, Kabali, Kapoor & Sons, Rock On!!, and Fan. There were also some smaller critical hits like Titli, Citylights, and the restored version of Kamal Swaroop’s 1988 surreal film Om-Dar-B-Dar, which has not had a home video release after its theatrical debut in 2014.

Surprisingly, the catalogue didn’t seem to have all Amazon Originals. Love & Friendship, the Amazon Studios period drama, was unavailable; this is presumably because Amazon Studios only bought rights for North America distribution. Recent originals like The Grand Tour and Woody Allen’s Transparent were available.

Among the American TV shows on the service were Seinfeld, Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Preacher, Mad Men, NCIS, and Fear The Walking Dead. Japanese anime shows included Doraemon, Shinchan, and Ninja Hattori, as announced by Amazon last week.

There were very few Indian TV series on the service–one available show was CID. Amazon has announced that it will release original Indian series in the future.

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Censorship

All Indian titles MediaNama accessed were censored, including films like Om-Dar-B-Dar and Titli, both of which have run into trouble with the censor board in the past. CBFC certificates were prominently shown before every Indian film.

TV shows and non-Indian films were left intact.

Amazon’s censorship approach seems to be a hybrid of TV-on-demand services like iTunes and Google, and that of Netflix. Netflix currently doesn’t censor any titles for India as a policy, while the Play Store and iTunes’ library are completely censored for both Indian and non-Indian titles.

Localisation

Amazon seems to have invested quite a bit in subtitling and dubbing its content. In addition to children’s shows, multiple American series and films have captioning and dubbing in Indian languages. Fear The Walking Dead, for example, has been dubbed into Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Bengali.

Additionally, all nine seasons of Seinfeld have Hindi subtitles.

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Overall

Prime Video seems to have a pretty voluminous catalogue in Indian languages, and a notably strong slate of originals. Its localisation is admirable, especially for extending captioning and dubbing efforts to TV series, something few players, if any, in India has done before.

There’s still a lot left to be desired when it comes to the acquisition of smaller Indian titles, something Netflix has done more extensively over the last year.

All hope is not lost for those who are in a hurry to see The Grand Tour, though–the series is available for Indian Prime subscribers to view on Prime Video US.

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Image credit: koshyg15 on Reddit. Used here with permission

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  • raja elluri

    I want more English content, and I want them Uncensored. I haven’t paid my money to watch hindi saans-bahu serials and get depressed!

    • maazkalim

      Saas-Bahu* 😊

  • maazkalim

    Fact-correction: Amazon® hasn’t commissioned dubbing for anime[s] and other international animated-shows for its service. It just secured dubbing rights from respective [TV] broadcasters, something which apparently has never been done in India before. And that’s the reason why, oddly enough, even if after those shows are rated somewhat-appropriately, has some inaccurate metadata along with censorship and goof-ups even more than On-Air versions. 😑