The streaming service, which was launched in India in 2018, offers content in English, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, and Punjabi.
Speaking at the event on Tuesday, Manish Kalra, Chief Business Officer of ZEE5 India, said, “Since the time of our launch, one of our strengths is regional content.” He further added that their upcoming line-up consists of 10-12 original series and between eight and 10 blockbuster films.
Filmmakers Vetri Maaran and Ameer are set to collaborate on the ZEE5 series Nilamellam Ratham, which is written by the former and will star the latter. Vetri Maaran, who has always asserted that OTT has brought about a “golden era for screenwriting,” reiterated this on Tuesday. In addition to writing, he will also be serving as the showrunner of the series, which will have music by Yuvan Shankar Raja.
Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi, meanwhile, will be helming the ZEE5 Original Paper Rocket, starring Kalidas Jayaram and Tanya Ravichandran. The series revolves around the concept of death but takes a lighter approach to the topic. Speaking about the project, Kiruthiga said, “My parents are also aging and the thought of the inevitable loss keeps recurring. The crux of this story came from that.” The team also released the song Kaalai Maalai by Sid Sriram from the musically-heavy show, which is scored by composer Dharan Kumar.
Actor-producer Radhika Sarathkumar is set to star in two thriller web series premiering on ZEE5. The first of these is Kaarmegam (Tamil) aka Gaalivaana (Telugu), which is set in a coastal town and directed by Sharan Koppisetty. The show will premiere on April 14. The actor will also be collaborating with director Vasantha Balan for Thalamai Seyalagam.
Among the first batch of the web series lined up on the platform is Anantham, starring actor Prakash Raj. Set to release on April 22, the show directed by Priya V Kamakshi follows an estranged son who returns to his family home Anantham. The series explores the various emotions of the people who lived in the house between 1964 and 2015. “I lived, and still do, in such a house that is also called Anantham,” said director Priya, noting that wondering what it would have been like if other people had lived there, and what stories the walls would have to tell in that case, led her to making the series.
“Prakash Raj is my mentor and godfather in the industry,” she added. The actor, meanwhile, mentioned that working on a series was a “different space” for him.
The renewal of the series Fingertip for a second season was also announced at the event. The first season starred Akshara Haasan, Ashwin Kakumanu and Sunainaa, among others, and was directed by Shivakar. The second season of Fingertip will feature actors Prasanna, Aparna Balamurali and Regina Cassandra. Shivakar, who returns to helm the second season, noted that the series talks about technology and social media and how it affects human lives.
Other projects announced were the ZEE5 Original Kolaigara Kairegaigal, starring Kalaiyarasan and Vani Bhojan and directed by SR Prabhakaran; a thriller by director Naga titled Aindham Vedham, produced by Abirami Media Works; and director Vijay’s web series Five Six Seven Eight, set against the backdrop of dance.
The event also honoured the makers of the Tamil films Malaysia to Amnesia and Vinodhaya Sitham, which streamed on the platform. It was also revealed by Ajay Kapoor of Abirami Media Works, the production banner of Vinodhaya Sitham, that Telugu actor Pawan Kalyan is in talks for a remake of the film.