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Aha (IN)

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The last couple of years have been huge for streaming movies and TV in India. Sure, the whole world has seen an enormous surge in the popularity of streaming, kicked into gear, of course, by none other than Netflix pivoting its business model from that of mail order DVD rentals to digital streaming. Ever since Netflix became larger than life, it seems as if every other media and entertainment company has been sprinting to try and catch up, introducing their own takes on what a TV and movie streaming site should be.

India’s streaming party, in some ways, though, is just getting started. Hey, it is always better late than never, right? The new generation of movie streaming sites coming out of India right now, too, are absolutely incredible. It’s as if these companies are making up for lost time, in a big way! … Well, some of them, that is. Of course, as is always the case with any digital product or subscription service, there is bound to be some variance in quality. Furthermore, there will also always be certain streaming sites that simply aren’t right for you as a viewer.

But that is nothing to fret about! This is why I write these movie streaming site reviews in the first place … so that you don’t have to waste any unnecessary time, energy, and/or money auditioning every new movie streaming site that comes out of the woodwork (as so many have been these days!). My goal is to provide a convenient and useful resource to help you both discover and learn everything there is to know about the best movie streaming sites (and, as you may have noticed from the rest of my site, every kind of streaming site there is).

That being said, today we will be taking a look at one of India’s newest movie streaming sites to hit the scene. Although Aha is just a year old, it has generated a huge amount of buzz and hype. Perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that Aha was the brainchild of one of the most prominent producers in Tollywood, Allu Aravind, who was able to put all of his connections and wealth behind the site. Or maybe Aha’s sudden rise to prominence as one of the best movie streaming sites in India can be chocked up to something simpler: that it is a high-quality site with a ton of in-demand Telugu films and top-notch original content.

I think that, when you boil it down, that is what is missing from most Indian movie streaming sites: exclusive, original films. Once again, this is a trick borrowed from Netflix – the originators of high-quality, critically acclaimed original content produced by a streaming site – and, in my opinion, in order to be competitive in the highly competitive global arena of movie streaming platforms, original content is a necessity.

It is not just original content that you need if you expect to tussle with the giants of movie streaming. Great original content must be combined with a good variety of classics, fan favorites, and syndicated films as well. A new streamer cannot expect to survive on original content alone!

Even a production studio as well respected as HBO had to offer non-HBO content with their streaming site, HBO Max, when it launched.

And, at first glance, it would appear as if Aha has both of these critical boxes ticked … which means that it definitely has the makings to be deserving of a spot on this list of the best movie streaming sites of all time. But is Aha the right movie streaming site for you? Well, let’s dive in and find out, shall we?

History

As I have already mentioned, Aha was started by Tollywood production extraordinaire, Allu Aravind. It has been reported that Aravind developed quite a binge-watching habit thanks to other prominent streaming sites. This, naturally, prompted him to want to start a streaming service of his own, one that broadcast solely content in his native tongue, Telugu. Although there are several Telugu movie streaming sites out there on the web, there was not, prior to Aha, what could be rightfully called the Telugu Netflix.

In other words, the number of choices when it came to premium movie streaming sites for the Telugu speaking world was, as far as I know, nonexistent. This, presumably, was the fact that led to Aravind’s Aha! moment, if you will (yeah I know, lame joke; but if cheesy puns are the only thing you have to put up with in exchange for free, comprehensive movie streaming site reviews, that’s still a pretty good deal, right?).

At any rate, after floating the idea of a Telugu streaming service to his family, they suggested that he link up with famed businessman, Rameswar Rao Jupally who joined on as a partner in the business. Aha officially (soft) launched on January 25th, 2020. Today, Ajit Thakur sits at the helm of Aha, fielding the day to day matters of the business.

Design

It seems as if comparisons to Netflix are inevitable with most premium movie streaming sites. And Aha, of course, is not immune. Aiding to the parallel, though, is the fact that Aha’s site design, interface, and layout is, essentially, identical to that of Netflix, just with a slightly different style and flavor.

At the very top of the site, as per usual, you’ll find a site menu bar. This is where you will be able to browse all of Aha in the broadest terms. Navigate the site by Movies, Shows, and Genres (dropdown: action, comedy, crime, etc.). This is also where you can switch the language of the site (Telugu and English are currently the only options, surprisingly) or access the search bar in case you want to search for one movie in particular.

Immediately below the site menu bar, as is tradition with streaming sites, you will be greeted by a large banner that carousals featured titles and recommendations. This is the streaming site equivalent of passing by the posters on your way into the movie theater, I suppose. From there, the rest of the site unfurls in a fairly traditional way – a long series of categories, each with its own horizontal, side-scrolling menu for easy browsing with minimal clicking back and forth into additional pages. The site is very user-friendly and intuitive, if only because it is so familiar.

Content and Features

I have already covered that Aha blends both original movies with popular Telugu favorites … but that is the main characteristic of Aha’s content, that it is all 100% Telugu content. You won’t find anything in Hindi, English, Malayalam, etc. This is, of course, great for Telugu speakers (there aren’t, after all, a long list of movie streaming sites that cater to the language specifically), but it is unfortunate for everyone else in India and abroad. So, if you aren’t fluent in Telugu (or, at the very least, learning the language), this is probably not going to be the best movie streaming site for you.

As far as additional features are concerned, aside from the usual (ad-free content, the ability to watch offline, and the ability to stream simultaneously across several devices), Aha doesn’t have anything groundbreaking to offer.

One thing that does stand out to me, though, is the fact that, unlike most other premium movie streaming sites, Aha does have a small selection of free movies that can be viewed without so much as providing an email address. So, if you want to give Aha a try and aren’t ready to commit to a plan, check out their free movies section first for a taste of what to expect.

Mobile and Desktop Experience

Aha does have a decent cross-platform list of compatible devices. Mobile streamers will enjoy the service’s apps, available on both iOS and Android devices – they are every bit as well-designed as the site itself. Plus, Aha is available on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Android TV.

Pricings and Plans

Aha keeps things nice and simple with their available plans. There are 2, and the price difference depends only on if you would prefer to pay per month or pay for a year upfront. The monthly price for Aha members is $7.99. If you want to save some money, though, you can pay $34.99 for a full year of Aha, making it one of the most affordable premium movie streaming sites on the market.

Likes & Hates:
Tons of high-quality Telugu movies and TV shows
Original and licensed content
User-friendly site and apps
Affordable subscription
All content in Telugu only