India's Zee Launches First-Ever Bollywood Channel for U.S. Hispanics

Haider Still - H 2014
Courtesy of UTV Motion Pictures

Haider Still - H 2014

Zee Mundo will offer Spanish-dubbed versions of popular Bollywood titles with plans to expand to Latin American countries.

In what could be an example of how cultures can cross borders even in troubled times, Indian TV giant Zee Entertainment Enterprises has launched the first-ever Spanish-language Bollywood channel targeting the U.S. Hispanic market.

Zee Mundo offers Spanish-dubbed versions of Bollywood titles drawn from Zee's catalog with films such as Haider, a Bollywood take on William Shakespeare's Hamlet, romantic drama Khubsoorat, spy thriller Agent Vinod and family drama English, Vinglish, among others.

Explaining the rationale behind launching Zee Mundo, Zee international TV business CEO Amit Goenka said that the Hispanic markets and India “share strong cultural similarities in terms of family structure, socioeconomic conditions, food, music, art and culture."

He added: "We are confident that Zee Mundo’s programming will cross frontiers with storylines and themes that are relatable to Hispanic audiences.” And he said that Zee Mundo was “an exclusive Hollywood-quality product that is designed to attract and captivate pay TV subscribers through the best of Bollywood productions.”

Headquartered in Miami, Zee Mundo (“mundo” means "world" in Spanish) is promoted with the tagline "Te Encanta!," meaning “You’ll Love It!” The channel is carried on Dish Network's Dish Latino service, “the first of several planned distribution deals in the U.S. Hispanic market,” according to Javier Lopez Casella, Zee U.S. Hispanic and Latin America's head of business. A former executive with BBC Worldwide responsible for marketing the network in Latin America, Casella added that Zee Mundo will eventually expand into other countries, such as Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Chile.

“Showcasing a sensational foreign-film genre that is feverishly adored by more than a billion fans [in India], Zee Mundo will premiere global blockbusters and feature the biggest worldwide stars the Americas have yet to fully discover,” he said, given that the channel will air films featuring top Bollywood talent, such as Shah Rukh Khan, Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire), Irrfan Khan (Jurassic World), Priyanka Chopra (Quantico) and Deepika Padukone (XXX: The Return of Xander Cage).