MELA – The First Ever Global Online Service to Release Bollywood Movies Simultaneous to Their Theatrical Releases

If, like myself, you are based outside the sub-continent, you will identify with my frustrations during the last year in terms of Indian cinema’s film distribution. I’ve heard that the market for distribution outside of India can be a difficult and expensive one and it has become increasingly so that film-makers simply choose not to enter the minefield altogether. Who can blame them? My frustration, however, gets added fuel when the movies that have had an India-only release in the last year of so have gone on to get rave reviews, adding to my eagerness for them. Again, like myself, if you are as keen to watch such movies, you will understand how annoying it is and how out-of-the-loop you’re made to feel to be living in a country which will have to wait for a given film to come on a specific channel or be released on DVD if you want the chance to see what the fuss was about. Well, this is where things may change! How? Read on…

On 15 March 2012, First Day First Show, an initiative where international markets are able to gain online access to new Bollywood releases was announced. A global multi-platform consumer entertainment service, Mela, launched the service which will give viewers and fans around the world the enjoy the newest movies and, that too, in the comfort of their own homes. The initiative is a world-first and is sure to gain popularity quickly.

The first of the simultaneous global releases comes in the form of a movie named, Chaurahen, which released on 16 March 2012. The film, starring Soha Ali Khan and Zeenat Aman to name a few, is currently available on all Mela platforms: Mela Bollywood movies channel on Roku, the Mela app on iPad and the Mela HD set-top box. The movie was released on the same day as it officially hit theatres in India.

Directed by Rajshree Ojha, Chaurahen is an adaptation of short stories written by celebrated author, Nirmal Verma. “The quality of the Mela service, engagement of its audience, and the global reach of its platform will appeal to any content owner looking for a highly effective global distribution platform,” Ojha expressed. Sab Kanaujia, the General Manager of Mela, commented, “Mela is proud to become the first entertainment service to provide Bollywood producers and studios arguably the most effective global distribution platform. Now, quality content can reach its fans immediately, no matter where they are in the world. We are excited to acquire Chaurahen. While we are starting with mid- to small-budget movies under this initiative, we are confident that over time we will be able to acquire big-budget movies by demonstrating the value of our distribution platform.”

Almost fifty percent of new Bollywood movies released in India every year do not get a simultaneous theatrical release in international markets due to various reasons. Limited number of available screens for releasing niche content and high traditional distribution and marketing cost are the main reasons why many Bollywood movies after releasing in India do not reach their global fans. As a result, rampant piracy has taken root in international markets to meet the growing demand of ardent fans who don’t want to wait until official DVDs are released several weeks or months after a new movie’s theatrical release in India. Additionally, cheap, pirated DVDs, available within days of a movie’s theatrical release in India, have almost killed the home box office market because the price of official DVDs has remained very high comparatively.

Mela has been working with various producers and studios in India to ensure that a wide selection of films can leverage its global distribution platform and provide Mela subscribes a high-quality movie watching experience when the demand is the highest. Content owners will, for the first time, be able to distribute and monetize their content on a worldwide basis from day one. Fans will have a very compelling, legal alternative to enjoy new Bollywood movies in a high quality that was previously unavailable to them.

You can watch the official trailer of Chaurahen here

For more information,  visit

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