How this cinema-loving couple found a cure to their lockdown loneliness through OTT platforms

Mallika and her husband Rajendran took their love for cinema to the next level by installing a projector equipped with Airtel Xstream - opening up a new world of entertainment for this couple in their fifties.
How this cinema-loving couple found a cure to their lockdown loneliness through OTT platforms
How this cinema-loving couple found a cure to their lockdown loneliness through OTT platforms
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56-year-old Mallika and her husband Rajendran have been movie buffs for as long as they can remember. When they got married, the couple moved to Dubai for the sake of Rajendran’s career - and Tamil movies became their only comfort and connection to their life back in Chennai. Their love for cinema brings them together and has been an emotional aspect of their lives for years - so much so that their son went on to become an independent film producer. Even after moving back to Chennai, the family developed a habit of watching films together regularly.

Through the lockdown, stuck at home without the ability to watch movies in the theatre or visit friends and family, watching movies and TV at home was all they had to pass the time. So Rajendran came up with the bright idea to install a projector and surround sound system. What they did next, though, is what really took it to the next level. They upgraded the system with an Airtel Xstream Box. They’d already been Airtel broadband customers for ten years and had an Airtel Xstream Fibre connection, so they had faith in the service. You can browse all the plans for Airtel Xstream Fibre here.

Using Xstream, a new generation of smart set-top boxes powered by Android 9.0, they got the freedom to choose between OTTs, TV channels, and a library of over 10,000 movies and shows, including the Airtel Xstream app which brought all that digital content to their mobile screens. The new entertainment system converted a corner of their independent home in Chennai into a cozy mini-theatre.

The Rajendrans at their son’s wedding.

Upgrading their entertainment system

Leading the home tour, Rajendran walks over to a rectangular studio with a separate entrance and opens the glass door. Inside, it’s a quiet space, with a plank swing, some comfortable couches, and a huge projector screen rolled down over the front wall. “I did a lot of research. My son helped me find the right model, and I ordered it online. I then got the screen and the soundbar,” he explains excitedly.

“We don’t ever need to go to the movie theatre now. We can watch what we want right here, take breaks when we need to. Because the Xstream comes with all the OTTs and with Fibre connection we get all the packs in one, we can switch to any other film or TV show if we get bored. It makes everything so easy to use,” he goes on. Not only do they not have to spend any money on expensive movie tickets, with Airtel Xstream, even their OTT subscriptions are free.

Having the home theatre turned into a Smart System pre-equipped with all the platforms and applications has made the lockdown go past a lot smoother for the Rajendrans.

“I can’t believe we’ve been in lockdown for 6 months! Through it, we’ve built a ritual,” Rajendran says, “During the day, I work, and my wife watches shows or YouTube videos. And every day at around 6pm, we sit down together to watch a movie.” Mallika pitches in that she likes to watch devotional videos on YouTube - which she searches for using Google Assistant, since typing out search entries using the remote is confusing for her. The Xstream comes with the latest Android Pie, and is therefore equipped with Google Assistant and can run any app that is available on the Google Playstore.

Finding new enjoyable content

“We feel like we’ve watched all the Tamil films that are available online right now!” Rajendran laughs. “Now we’ve moved on to Telugu. Our neighbours came over to watch old black and white movies. And they’re originally from Andhra Pradesh, so thanks to them we’ve found a lot of entertainment in Telugu films.”

“I love Mahesh Babu and Vijay Deverkonda. The films are all so grand and largescale, we really love getting the full theatrical experience here,” Mallika adds.

Their favourite thing to watch lately together is America’s Got Talent on YouTube. “You’d never be able to see a YouTube video on the big screen without this technology,” Rajendran says, “It makes watching so enjoyable.”

Now that the lockdown is easing up, the new entertainment system is leading to more social experiences for the couple. Friends stop by to watch films with them. Nephews stayed over to watch the IPL, exclaiming that there’s no way to go back to watching a match on a laptop screen after experiencing it in the home theatre. They even have a new way to entertain neighbourhood kids, who are savvy enough to use the Xstream as a gamepad since it can connect to mobile phones through Bluetooth.

The Rajendrans’ son and daughter-in-law also come by to have movie nights with them, complete with Mallika’s freshly-made pakodas and steaming coffee. “Getting this system one of the best decisions I ever made,” Rajendran grins, “It’s made me love my home space so much more.”

This article was created by TNM Brand Studio in partnership with Airtel.

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