TORONTO – Crave is digging into the vaults of Bollywood cinema as it looks to stock its digital library with more international fare.
The Bell Media-operated streaming company says it has partnered with Canadian broadcaster Asian Television Network to launch “Crave’s first completely third-language collection,” an offering of 20 Hindi-language films.
The Bollywood Bonanza section includes 2006 buddy comedy “Golmaal,” 2004 sci-fi action flick “Rudraksh” and 1989 romance “Maine Pyar Kiya,” the debut of Sooraj Barjatya, one of Bollywood’s most successful directors.
Crave says it plans to introduce a collection of Chinese films and TV shows in November.
The library of international films comes as mainstream viewers show a growing interest in watching subtitled programming, a trend fuelled further in recent weeks by South Korean dystopian thriller “Squid Game,” which Netflix says is the most popular series in its history in any language.
Some of the world’s biggest streaming platforms have spent years investing in original TV series and films produced in various languages, hoping to attract more subscribers in local markets.
Amazon Prime Video already hosts an extensive catalogue of Bollywood films, while Netflix houses more than 25 Hindi titles on its platform.
However, the Canadian-only Crave doesn’t share the global growth strategy of many of its competitors. The company is focused mainly on English and French films, as well as programming in some Indigenous languages.
Until now, it’s hosted only a small menu of international films coming to the service as part of existing deals with film distributors, among them Oscar-winner “Parasite” from South Korea.
The streaming platform hasn’t always been so eager to embrace subtitled TV programming. For instance, it took a year and a half before Crave picked up HBO’s Fred Armisen co-produced Spanish comedy “Los Espookys” in January 2021.
But the latest move signals Crave may be thinking differently. The service also recently added other subtitled TV shows, including Spanish-language LGBTQ series “Veneno” and Italian drama “My Brilliant Friend,” as part of output deals with HBO.
Alongside Crave’s Bollywood film collection are 20 episodes of “ATN’s Tribute to 100 Years of Indian Cinema,” a series looking back on the impact of the bustling Indian film industry.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2021.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version cited an incorrect placeline.