Bollywood On Demand

Comcast has finally figured it out. Us desis just can't seem to get enough of this stuff:

In response to Dish Network's and DirecTV's success with multicultural programming, Comcast of Northern California this year launched ``Bollywood & Beyond,'' its latest ethnic video-on-demand (VOD) service that's becoming a hit with the Bay Area's growing Indo-American community.

More details:

B&B, which was launched by Time Warner Cable in New York last August, offers Comcast's 800,000 digital subscribers a chance to purchase seven Indian films each month for $3.99 each.

Among the 17 festival titles that will be available ``on demand,'' which allows subscribers to pause, rewind and view movies as many times as they want over a 24-hour period: ``Chokher Bali,'' starring superstar Aishwarya Rai as a widow who moves in with another family, and ``Khwahish,'' with the popular Malika Sherwat as a low-born daughter who marries into a prominent business family.

An interesting contrast between arty and earthy fare. But very limited, both in terms of title selection and time for rental. Given the length of the average film, getting through them in 24 hours, particularly on weekday can't be easy. So, Mukesh, our local grocery/video rental store owner can relax for the time being. He might lose out on some popular recent releases but his huge back catalogue of masala films will continue to keep him in business. Another point from the article:

Veena Kamath, an elementary school teacher who lives in Los Altos, is a fan of the new service. She stumbled upon the Bollywood movies three months ago and saved herself a trip to her favorite video store.

``It's great to be able to watch a Hindi film when you want, and share it with your children, who may be losing touch with their culture,'' said the mother of two who emigrated from Bombay 24 years ago.

Of course! Who better than Bollywood to teach your kids about "family values" and what a fairyland India really is - especially those parts in Switzerland and New Zealand.

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- July 26, 2005 10:04 PM // Bay Area , Bollywood