Often when I do check out something new in the market, I share my experiences with you. Last week, I checked out Alt Balaji, a video-on-demand app. Here’s what I think…
Considering I hold Ekta Kapoor (and cable television) responsible for the catabolic state of Indian television, I was more than mildly (pleasantly even) surprised to see Alt Balaji from her stable, which made its debut in the world of online entertainment a few days back.
Alt Balaji is a video-on-demand app streaming television shows and movies in Hindi, English and regional languages (currently, it has one Tamil show called Maya Thirai. Hopefully, they will honour the ‘s’ in the languages soon).
First things first. How does the app score in the looks department? Well, to be honest, it is not something that you’d expect to emerge from the house that made OTT garish costumes, preposterous bindis, vampire eye-makeup part and parcel of Indian teleserials. So don’t blame me if I did a double take when I saw a smooth (not in a boring kinda way) and chic design of the app. Black, grey and a pop of pink and mango yellow colours make the design look modish and breezy. Not loud. At all.
Next, the app downloads quickly without jarring your nerves and is easily navigable. Thank God for small mercies! Instead of throwing a zillion choices at mankind, they have kept it all simple and pain-free.
Content is categorised under Shows, Movies, Kids and Comedy (sadly for me, there are no documentaries). Currently, there’s limited content and understandably so given it is in the tech trial stage. You are expected to see a lot more happening from April onwards.
I am quite looking forward to the “original shows”. It looks like Ekta could be charting a new course here. This time a step forward. The Alt in Alt Balaji apparently stands for the alternative to what Balaji has done so far. Hard to believe. But then human beings build their lives on a foundation of hope. Heartening to see original shows like Romil And Jugal (Drama/Hindi) about two men falling madly in love or Dev DD where Devdas is a woman and so on…shows which you will not find on mainstream television. Of course, I can only talk about the quality of the show once it is aired. Currently, I have just looked at the beautiful posters, read the synopsis and the “Coming Soon” tag. But there are some Korean shows that you can download and watch. According to me, Korean teleserials are second only to Spanish telenovelas. So Alt’s pick of Korean shows seems interesting. In future, you can also see shows from Australia, US and Canada along with Alt’s shows. As far as the latter is concerned, I read somewhere that Samir Nair, who is heading Alt Balaji, described the content as “something in between a Naagin and Narcos“. Well, I am a intrigued. And that’s a good thing!
The movie section has some free downloads and some paid. The usual Bollywood fare. Nothing to write home about. The kiddie shows are the usual fare of Shaktiman, nursery rhymes and a few original contents (which is a good sign). Parental lock is available so that your kid does not accidently watch Ragini MMS instead of Shaktimaan or Moe Doe the Frenemies. But then if you ask me, your child should be out playing instead of watching any show at all on your mobile. But then….
Subscriptions are available at Rs.100 for three months, Rs.180 for
six months and Rs.300 for a year (introductory offer). If you are going to subscribe during this period, you also get two extra months free. The pricing and the content are what one would describe in local lingo as “cheap and besht”. Though one does not know what the rates would be like going forward.
In all, my experience with the app has been pain-free: pleasing to the eye, smooth streaming of vids and uncluttered.
This is not a paid review.