For the South Asian diaspora, charm and magnetism of Hindi and other regional language flicks is second only to an unending appetite for delectable Indian gastronomic delights.
The sequence of establishments catering to the entertainment needs of the community in any American town or city with a critical mass of the immigrant community follows a well-charted path.
First pops up a grocery store stocking South Asian movies alongside dry and fresh culinary specialties from the native land.
Then, an entrepreneur smelling opportunity opens a theatre showing Bollywood, Tollywood and other Indian wood except Hollywood movies on big screens offering samosas, tikkis and chai as half time snacks in parallel with cable companies telecasting all day programming of Indian saas bahu soaps.
These regular entertainment fares are peppered with live shows of Bollywood stars and singers.
With maturation of web 2.0 technology, another medium with a global reach has emerged for the entertainment needs of this community.
Let me commence with the ubiquitous YouTube. Easy and free availability of Hindi and other Indian regional language flicks on YouTube has become a major source of conversation, camaraderie and entertainment in desi circles especially in tech centric Silicon Valley.
Though the video and audio quality of many of the offerings from the site is questionable, the easy availability and the nouveau factor of the experience is magnetic for online aficionados.
Undoubtedly, the fan following has made the site the most popular video tryst on the web.
Despite the experience, a recurring concern echoed by one and many is the illegal nature of the operations and outrageous copyright infringement by the video posters.
Now with Viacom's one billion dollar legit gambit against Google, and other anticipated media industry lawsuits, it is a good idea to know about an alternative online player legally broadcasting the South Asian movies via the web and offering better quality in stream or download experience in the internet media marketplace.
Jaman.com is a player in this new and niche market. Besides a destination for Hindi movies, the site also offers cinema from other nations using the latest technology to bring social cinema by delivering DVD quality films to a growing online community of fans from around the world.
Gaurav Dhillon, co-Founder and former CEO of Informatica is the Founder and CEO of this new age company.
Currently in beta, Jaman lets the online users download feature-length, international and American independent films.
Currently with over 1000 movies under license for distribution, Jaman plans to expand its offerings of award winning festival films, including the largest online library of Sundance festival films.
Though the varied flicks on the site are currently free in the beta phase, after going live, movies on Jaman will be available for rental or purchase on Mac or PC for $1.99 to rent and $4.99 to purchase.
"Less than one percent of films made in the world find distribution in the United States, leaving thousands of great stories untold.
Jaman's ability to add the 'social' into the cinema provides a great online way to discuss and discover films from around the world," Opines Gaurav Dhillon, CEO of Jaman.
Subscribers can download the Jaman player on their computers and watch feature films directly from their Mac or PC, or enjoy the viewing experience using a home theater system. Community features like in-movie conversations, reviews and groups provide a way for virtual social networking.
Users can also search for movies by title or browse by actor or by region or genre or with a recommendation from a friend, the community that a user becomes a part of, or Jaman editors.
Though the site does not feature any new Hindi movies, the available offerings are excellent quality. It takes around 45 minutes to download a full-length Hindi movie.
To increase the reach, the offerings need to be scaled up to include the newer flicks and other regional movies and decrease the download time while offering interoperability of machines and platforms.