Photo Credit: Netflix
At its showcase event in Singapore on Friday, Netflix unveiled the cast of Baahubali: Before the Beginning, the prequel series to the high-grossing India film franchise based on the first book of a proposed trilogy, The Rise of Sivagami. Mrunal Thakur (Love Sonia) will play the titular matriarch, and Rahul Bose (Poorna) will portray a character called Skandadasa. The cast also includes Atul Kulkarni (Rang De Basanti), Vaquar Shaikh (Qubool Hai), Jameel Khan (Gangs of Wasseypur), Siddharth Arora (Lies of the Heart), Anup Soni (Crime Patrol), Sunil Palwal (Yeh Dil Ramta Jogi), Smaran Sahu, and Sahib Verma.
Set fifty years before the first film and seventy-five years before the second, Baahubali: Before the Beginning is a story about family and justice, and will be centred on Sivagami. It will dig deeper into the powerful character, producer Prasad Devineni said, and will expand the series backstory while introducing new characters and locations. Thakur joked that it's great that she gets to play a hero on the screen, as she "doesn't know if [she] will ever be in real life".
"We grew up watching a lot of Hollywood films by a lot of auteurs and that gave us our start," director Deva Katta said at the event. "It's about making it more experiential, that's the vision of the story."
The older versions of some of these characters have been part of the films. Sivagami was played by Ramya Krishna, M. Nassar portrayed Bijjaladeva, and Sathyaraj was in the role of Kattappa. Mahadeva, who later gets the title of Vikramadeva, has been referenced on the big screen, while the others are all new.
Netflix also confirmed the reported casting of Huma Qureshi in Leila, and announced that acclaimed filmmaker Deepa Mehta (Water, Fire) will handle the first two episodes. Previously, Netflix also announced five anime originals from Asia, nine new original films from India, and a new original series called Typewriter from Sujoy Ghosh.
Baahubali: Before the Beginning will likely release in 2019 on Netflix.
Disclosure: Netflix sponsored the correspondent's flights and accommodation for the event.