MUMBAI: News Corp-owned broadcast network Star India is all set to launch a Bengali movie channel on 16 December.

The channel is named Jalsha Movies and will make its appearance in Bengal three months after Zee Entetainment Enterprises launched Zee Bangla Cinema.

"We are launching a Bengali movie channel next week," says Star India chief executive officer Uday Shankar.

Star has inked an exclusive five-year deal with a leading production house to source latest movies. It has also roped in Vivel as the channel partner for Jalsha Movies.

Jalsha Movies will be a free-to-air channel initially and will eventually go pay. Star is present in Bengal through its regional general entertainment channel, Star Jalsha.

The channel will commence its journey with the World Television Premiere of mega hit, Superstar Jeet starrer Awara. Bengali superstar Dev has been roped in as the brand ambassador of Jalsha Movies.

Star's Bengali movie channel launches at a time when Kolkata is transitioning towards digital cable TV.

Star claims to have an unmatched stock of the largest Bengali blockbusters of recent times.

Zee Bangla Cinema business head Sujay Kutty believes that the launch of another channel augurs well for the Bengali movie genre. "It (Jalsha Movies launch) will expand the market. It has been good for Zee Bangla Cinema as people are getting into watching movies. Bengal is a very dynamic market and every year a lot of good quality movies are being made," he says.

Kutty also believes that the launch of Jalsha Movies will not cause a major spike in movie acquisition costs. "Unlike Hindi movie channels, there is a certain threshold beyond which people won't pay to acquire movies because the RoI is not as big as Hindi movies channels," he avers. > News Headlines > Star to enter Bengali movie channel space; Jalsha Movies to launch on 16 December