Now that Netflix has a new competitor in India, the streaming service is making a push for more exclusive Bollywood content.
On Thursday—one day after rival Amazon officially launched its streaming service in India (and worldwide)—Netflix announced that it has struck a deal with the movie production house cofounded by one of Bollywood’s biggest stars. As part of its new partnership with Red Chillies Entertainment—the home of actor Shah Rukh Khan, also known as “King Khan” in India’s massive movie industry—Netflix will be able to offer its subscribers access to more than 30 existing Red Chillies movie titles as well as any new film the company produces over the next three years.
“Shah Rukh Khan is the most sought-after actor in the Indian film industry, and has played a huge role in bringing Indian cinema to the world stage,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement.
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The deal with Netflix gives Red Chillies more global reach for its films, which are already popular in a country where the Bollywood movie industry pulls in well over $2 billion in annual ticket sales. Recent Red Chillies release Dear Zindagi will be the first of the company’s titles to become available to Netflix’s 86 million subscribers worldwide, followed soon by more titles, including 2015’s Dilwale, which grossed more than $50 million worldwide.
Netflix announced plans for its first original series aimed at the Indian market over the summer, but the partnership with Red Chillies represents the company’s first deal with a production house in India. Meanwhile, e-commerce giant Amazon’s rival streaming service, which officially entered the Indian market on Wednesday, did so having secured partnerships with a number of leading Bollywood production companies, including Dharma Productions, Vishesh Films, and T-Series.
The timing of Netflix’s (NFLX) announcement is notable for the fact that it comes just one day after rival streaming service Amazon rolled out Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. On Wednesday, the company especially highlighted its entry into the Indian market, where Amazon will offer a wide range of local film and television content through its partnerships. Both Amazon and Netflix seem to view India as fertile ground for subscriber growth as more than half the country’s 1.3 billion people could be using the Internet by 2020.
Of course, Amazon (AMZN) is a year behind Netflix when it comes to global expansion. Netflix quickly brought its service to more than 130 additional countries earlier this year, giving the service nearly total global reach in one fell swoop. The company said recently it will spend roughly $6 billion producing more than 1,200 hours of original content in 2017, which is $1 billion more than it spent this year.
Amazon has not released specific figures for its original content costs, but the company reportedly spent about half what Netflix did this year—a number that Amazon is expected to increase substantially as part of its global spread.