Netflix announces 9 new Indian original films, to be produced by Priyanka Chopra, Madhuri Dixit, Anushka Sharma
Speaking at the event, Netflix chief content officer, Ted Sarandos said that Asia, and in particular India, is a territory of key importance in the streaming service’s future plans.
Firebrand, produced by Priyanka Chopra and mother Madhu Chopra, is “a Marathi film that follows a successful lawyer, a sexual assault victim played by Usha Jadhav, as she tackles difficult family cases while also dealing with intimacy issues in her own marriage. Girish Kulkarni essays the role of her husband Madhav Patkar, an architect by profession. Sachin Khedekar and Rajeshwari Sachdev play a couple in the movie which is high on drama.”
Madhuri Dixit will produce a Marathi film called 15th August, that is set in a chawl and is a satire about the struggles of middle class India.
Yet another project is Rajma Chawal, directed by Leena Yadav and starring Rishi Kapoor, who plays a widowed father who wants to reconnect with his son. The film will be released in November 2018.
Manav Kaul will play an emotionally troubled music teacher in Music Teacher, which will also star Neena Gupta and Divya Dutta.
Chopsticks, starring Abhay Deol and Little Things’ Mithila Palkar is currently in production. It’s “about an under-confident but talented girl, sidestepped at every stage of her life, who seeks out an enigmatic con to help recover her stolen car from a goat-loving, crazy Mumbai gangster. In the process, she finds her confidence and place in the sun,” read a statement.
Bulbul, produced by Anushka Sharma and Karnesh Sharma’s Clean Slate Films, “is a period piece set in a vibrant atmosphere amidst age-old beliefs and superstitions.”
Hotel Mumbai, directed by Anthony Marras and starring an ensemble international cast of Dev Patel, Armie Hammer and Jason Isaacs, will be released as a Netflix original in 2019. The film, about the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, premiered to positive reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Other films announced include the festival acquisition Soni, Upstarts, a bromance about three college roommates and Cobalt Blue, about a brother and sister who fall in love with the same man.
In addition to the films, cast announcements were also made about Netflix’s Indian TV slate.
“Our first foray was Sacred Games, which found an audience across the world. That was 2018, but today we’re here to talk about 2019,” said Simran Sethi, the creative executive in charge of Indian content.
“Right now we’re shooting six originals in India, from Leh to Kerala,” she added. A new show to be announced was Typewriter, created by Sujoy Ghosh, director of Kahaani. Typewriter will be a haunted house story set in Goa.
Among the shows already in production are Leila, based on a novel by Prayaag Akbar, and Bard of Blood, starring Emraan Hashmi and produced by Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment.
“Leila is a very powerful story about a mother’s quest to find her daughter in a dystopic future. It was important for us to find a female director for this story. Deepa Mehta was the perfect choice,” said Sethi. “We’re shooting in Delhi right now,” she said, listing a cast that includes Huma Qureshi and Sanjay Suri.
Curiously, Mehta directed a film adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, which also has a Netflix show in the pipeline. Mehta, in a video from the Delhi sets said that the show is a six part series with a subject that’s really close to her heart, “about a woman who becomes strong and kicks a**.”
One of the bigger upcoming projects is a spin-off of SS Rajamouli’s blockbuster film series, Baahubali. “We’re excited that Baahubali will find a global audience just like the films did. I think the series gives us the freedom to explore the origins of Sivagami,” said Netflix VP of production, Todd Yellin.
“It’s a prequel to both films,” said producer Prasad Devineni. “It will take fans into the backstories of the characters from the films, and we’ll also be introducing new characters.”
Prasad revealed that the epic finale action sequence in the series has been shot by Rajamouli.
Netflix has previously released Sacred Games, Ghoul, Brij Mohan Amar Rahe, Love Per Square Foot, Little Things and Brahman Naman from India.
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