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Bollywood stars Sushmita Sen, Priyanka Chopra invade PH cable

October 08, 2019

Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen

Hit movies, shows from India ‘Tagalized’ for Filipino’s viewing enjoyment

Longtime cable provider Sky surges on despite the entry of new media via the Internet with the launch of Zee Sine, the first and only Tagalized Bollywood channel in the country. Featuring Indian cinema with familiar faces like Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen, Miss World 1994 Aishwarya Rai and Hollywood celebrity Priyanka Chopra, Filipinos can now enjoy the handiwork of one of the most successful movie industries of the world.

Miss World 1994 Aishwarya Rai

However, it must be noted that Zee Sine is curated with the Filipino viewer in mind — preferences in genres and story lines — amid the wide range of content from Bollywood. As such, drama, comedy, romance, action, thriller and even their popular musicals should be relatable to local viewers.

Hollywood celebrity Priyanka Chopra

“We used to bring our Zee channel in Hindi with English subtitles, French subtitles, depending on which country we air. We’re happy we’re growing but we realized we’re missing a big part of our viewership. The world is already exposed to Bollywood but Bollywood is seen with the subtitles when everyone would rather experience it in their own language,” stated Harish Goyal, CEO-Asia Pacific and Africa of Zee Entertainment in an interview.

(From left) Maria Gintin, Zee Entertainment country head; Gidgette Faustino, Sky Head of Integrated Marketing; and Harish Goyal, CEO Asia Pacific and Africa of Zee Entertainment

“That’s when we introduced our first channel in Arabic in the Middle East, seven years ago. We did extremely well there because the channel was catering to the Arabic-speaking people — not only to Indians. Then, we launched the channel in the Bahasa language of Indonesia, we’re also doing well there,” he continued.

“Learning from those ventures, we launched the channel in English in Africa and it became instantly popular too. In fact, we are the number one channel in some of the countries across Africa,” the executive beamed.

“So to [re-]launch the channel in the Philippines in Tagalog was an obvious next step and now that it’s already airing, we are happy it’s been doing very well,” Goyal added.

In Zee Sine, the localization process goes as far as creating movie themes like Unli Tawa Monday, Hari ng Aksyon Thursday, Pinoy Bollywood Box Office, Star of the Month, Bollywood Divas and Kilig Monday. Even the original character names in the movie are changed to names familiar with the audience while the language used is Filipino that is very in.

Currently, programming is as follows: three original movies and three original drama series on weekdays; five original movies on weekends; and three first airing movies or premieres every month, on weekends.

Besides movies, Zee Sine further airs TV series that feature the latest love teams from India weekday afternoons.

Bollywood actor Aamir Khan

Get ready to meet the most famous actors in India as soon as you tune in, such as Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor and many more.

Beyond ‘Tagalized’

To emphasize how the channel’s content is really designed for the Filipino viewer, Zee Entertainment country head Maria Gintin shared, “Before we came up with Zee Sine, we did a lot of research. Kaya hindi lang basta-basta itinayo yung channel without basis. We figured out paano namin maipapakilala. And truth be told, we have so much in common when it comes to our productions. The movies may look different but they practically come across as a Filipino story or production in the end.”

The executive went on to cite the similarity of values presented by Filipino and Indian cinema: “Number one is love for family. Moral values na pinagkaiingatan natin, meron din sila. In most of their movies, may mga ganyan — all about good moral values, respect for one another and even respect for nature. They’re very particular about that.

“They also love comedy just like Filipinos do,” she continued, “so siguro I can claim na kami ang pinakaunang international channel to have invested bago kami mag-launch in how we localized the content. Ang channel namin is fully dubbed in Tagalog and to think that we’ve launched Zee Sine with more than 300 movies.

“We really spent to prepare for the channel remember, this channel isn’t for the Indian expats in the Philippines. This is all for the Filipinos. So the moment you try to watch, enjoy it, and hindi na kayo maalis sa channel na ito,” Gintin added.

Zee Sine is a part of Zee Entertainment, which is available in 173 countries to entertain over 1.3 billion viewers every day. Today, Zee Entertainment is on its 25th year and has 10 locally targeted channels across the world, with three of them in Southeast Asia.”

Global viewer

“The Filipino audience is a global viewer. We’ve transcended the times when we only had our local shows. In fact, that’s what I think is the beauty or the positive difference we have as Filipinos because we’re so open [to other cultures] so much so that we’re also very open to new learning and to new content,” Gidgette Faustino, Sky’s Head of Integrated Marketing, also stated.

“That’s why we’re happy to be partners with Zee Sine. It’s in Tagalog; it’s in Filipino. Talagang inalam nila kung ano yung makakapagpatibok ng puso natin. So you can be sure that Zee Sine is full of music, comedy, love and action, and yun yung isang bagay kung bakit magki-click siya. Because at the end of it all, we share the same need to laugh, to cry at some point, fall in love, express ourselves in music.”

SkyCable subscribers have the option to add on Zee Sine in their lineup via Channel 112 for Metro Manila and Channel 424 in Cebu and Davao.

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