BOLLYWOOD star Saif Ali Khan is to play the lead character in Netflix’s first original series to be shot in India.
An adaptation of the best-selling and critically acclaimed, ‘Sacred Games’ by Vikram Chandra, Netflix India made a public announcement of Khan’s involvement on Twitter on Friday (July 14).
The series is to be made by Phantom Films of which India Indie King, Anurag Kashyap (‘Raman Raghav 2.0’) is a leading figure, along with Vikas Bahl (‘Queen’), and Vikramaditya Motwane ‘Lootera’), and Madhu Mantena.
Khan expressed his delight: “Content in the digital space is taking over the existing dynamics at a rapid pace – the crown in the digital empire lies with Netflix, and it’s extremely satisfying to partner and participate in the first original series from India to be showcased on Netflix.”
Chandra’s book was critically acclaimed on its release in 2006 and is a magnum opus, examining Mumbai’s recent resurgence.
Described by Netflix, as an “epic masterwork” Chandra’s novel looks at a web of relations that span organised crime, politics, national security and everything in between in a complex set of connections and intrigues.
Khan is set to play Sartej Singh, a police officer, who has to dig deep to find the sources of crime who spread over a large swathe of the sprawling metropolis that is contemporary Mumbai.
This news is so big that we need to say it twice. Sacred Games, a Netflix Original Series, will star Saif Ali Khan. pic.twitter.com/hSb5OIOTWb
— Netflix India (@NetflixIndia) July 15, 2017
Erik Barmack, Netflix vice president of international original series, said: “His role is layered and complex, and we are thrilled to be working with such a fantastic actor to bring this story to a global audience.”
The global streaming online giants have more than 125 million subscribers in 190 countries, and said ‘Sacred Games‘ would be available on its global online platform, adding: “We are delighted to partner creative powerhouse Phantom Films to bring Vikram Chandra’s epic novel to life with the best Indian and global film talent available today.
“‘Sacred Games’ reinforces our commitment to bring the authenticity of local stories to Netflix members across 190 countries worldwide.”
Chandra told Netflix: “Over the last few years, I’ve watched with great excitement and pleasure as Netflix has transformed narrative television with its ground-breaking, genre-bending shows.
“I’m confident that all the colour and vitality and music of the fictional world I’ve lived with for so long will come fully alive on the large-scale canvas provided by Netflix. I’m thrilled to be working with Netflix and Phantom Films.”
There will be high hopes that this will be a TV series to put Indian TV on the global map. Last month an industry panel at the London Indian Film Festival agreed a successful TV series made in India would open doors for Indian films and actors.
There are other media reports that claim Netflix has a deal with Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment to show all that company’s films in the VoD space and that the online streaming giants have also snapped those rights for ‘Dangal’ – India’s highest ever grossing movie ($300m/£230m) and counting – thanks to its unparalleled success in China), starring Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan.