Netflix has announced nine new original films from India, with eight made by local filmmakers and the ninth — Hotel Mumbai — a Hollywood film set in the country that has been acquired by the streaming service for the SAARC region. The highlights include films produced by Priyanka Chopra, Madhuri Dixit Nene, and Anushka Sharma. The likes of Abhay Deol, Mithila Palkar, and Usha Jadhav are attached as cast members. The new slate nearly doubles Netflix's feature-length offerings from India, which counts Brahman Naman, Love Per Square Foot, Lust Stories, Brij Mohan Amar Rahe, and the upcoming Rajma Chawal until now.
Here are the names and details for all nine films announced in Singapore on Friday:
Soni, “a young policewoman in Delhi, and her superintendent, Kalpana, have collectively taken on a growing crisis of violent crimes against women. However, their alliance suffers a major setback when Soni is transferred out for alleged misconduct on duty”. Directed by Ivan Ayr, Soni premiered at Venice Film Festival.
Firebrand, directed by Aruna Raje and produced by Priyanka Chopra, Firebrand 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.
15th August, produced by Madhuri Dixit, is set in a Mumbai chawl, and follows the course of a single day as its residents prepare for the flag-hoisting ceremony. This Marathi film is about the struggles of middle-class India and in a soaring climax, it is about how love sets us free.
Music Teacher, directed by Sarthak Dasgupta, is a story about an emotionally troubled music teacher, essayed by Manav Kaul, who gets a chance to come to terms with his bitterness with an estranged student, now a renowned celebrity singer of Bollywood. The music teacher vows to get back everything he lost in the past risking all his achievements in the present day.
Hotel Mumbai tells the astonishing true story of the victims and survivors of the devastating attacks on Mumbai in 2008. The film directed by Anthony Maras stars Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Anupam Kher, and Jason Isaacs. This film is available on Netflix in the SAARC region only.
In development/early production
Chopsticks is 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. Along with Mithila Palkar who won hearts in Netflix series Little Things 02, Abhay Deol and Vijay Raaz will act in the film. Chopsticks is produced by Ashvini Yardi of Vineyard Productions and directed by Sachin Yardi.
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. Satya and his brother's child bride, Bulbul, were inseparable until he was sent to England for his education. On his return, he finds Bulbul has been abandoned by his brother and now lives a solitary existence as the enigmatic lady-of-the-palace, dedicating herself to the welfare of the people. But their ancestral village is plagued by mysterious deaths and stories of a haunting by a woman who lives in the trees. Satya must find the truth behind the lore and save his village from the evil “chudail with the inverted feet”.
Upstarts is a bromance about three college graduates from small-town India, captivated by the startup mania sweeping the country. As they enter the rollercoaster startup ecosystem of big dreams, big money and bigger sharks, they are faced with a big choice - their dreams, or their friendship. Directed by Udai Singh Pawar, Upstarts is produced by Raja Menon, Janani Ravichandran and Jawahar Sharma of Bandra West Productions. This film is supported by real-life heroes from the startup world in Bengaluru.
Cobalt Blue, based on the bestselling novel of the same name, is the story of a brother and sister who fall in love with the same man, and how a traditional Marathi family is shattered by the ensuing events. This story brings out the pain and the beauty of forbidden love, and is written and directed by Sachin Kundalkar.
Disclosure: Netflix sponsored the correspondent's flights and accommodation for the event.