At the Dubai airport lounge days before the lockdown, an Italian lady walked up to Aparna Purohit, enquiring about the stickers of various Amazon shows on the latter's laptop. "She asked me where I got the stickers from. When she got to know I was from Amazon Prime Video, we spent the next few hours discussing about Made In Heaven's lead character, Tara," says Purohit, Head of Indian Originals, Amazon Prime Video. And it was not a one-off case. Purohit has had long discourses with people about her shows in airport lounges across the world.
From Family Man, Paatal Lok, Panchayat and Bandish Bandits to Breathe: Into the Shadows, Four More Shots and Made In Heaven, there has been a steady roll out of original shows from the Indian arm of Amazon Prime Video in the past one year. While all of them have struck a chord with Indian consumers, what particularly excites Purohit is the overwhelming response they evoked in the international market.
The shows produced by Amazon Prime India are released across 200 countries and Purohit claims that every fifth viewer of Made In Heaven was from outside India. Even a show like Paatal Lok, which has a distinctly local flavor, has done well overseas. "Our strategy across the world is to provide a platform for diverse authentic voices and keep the local customer at the centre of all decisions. I truly believe that the more local and more entrenched the story is in our soil, the more universal it becomes. A story like Paatal Lok, which is so nuanced and specific, has been received so well internationally." She believes people across the world relate to strong characters and emotions, irrespective of geography. "When we watch an international show we connect to it if the characters connect with us."
Apart from Hindi originals, Amazon Prime Video is now focusing on creating content in regional languages such as Tamil and Telegu. "Comicstan Tamil will be our first piece of regional content... It will also have a global release," says Purohit.