Netflix Signs Deal With Bollywood Star Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan - Getty - H 2016
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The announcement comes a day after rival Amazon launched its Prime Video service in India.

Just a day after Amazon set out its international stalls by rolling out its Prime Video service to India (and now more than 200 territories), streaming rival Netflix has upped the ante by unveiling a pact with one of the country's biggest stars.

The SVOD giant on Thursday announced a deal with Bollywood icon Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment banner to license its catalog and new films globally. Described in a statement from Netflix as "the beginning of a long-term relationship between both companies and the first of its kind with any Indian film production company," the deal covers such titles as Khan's latest release, Dear Zindagi, in addition to earlier films such as Happy New Year, Dilwale and Om Shanti Om.

Since its launch in January, Netflix has largely acquired art house fare with a few mainstream Bollywood and regional language titles. While the deal with Red Chillies Entertainment is a first for the company, Amazon has recently inked deals with major Indian studios such as Dharma ProductionsVishesh Films and T-Series to offer catalog and new blockbuster titles.

"Shah Rukh Khan is the most sought-after actor in the Indian film industry, and has played a huge role in bringing Indian cinema to the world stage," said Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos. "His moniker 'King Khan' speaks to his status as a cultural icon and to the incredible popularity of his films among audiences worldwide."

Added Khan: "Red Chillies is surging ahead in global entertainment, and for the first time our great stories are going global on Netflix all at once and crossing all geographical barriers, waiting to be discovered over the world."