Netflix announces 8 new original films; Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma,  Madhuri Dixit among producers 

Netflix’s growing popularity in India has seen the global digital content provider concentrate more on the Indian space. The online streaming giant has announced eight new original films and an original web-series, at a press conference in Singapore earlier today. The significant part about the announcement is that it has one feature film each produced by Priyanka Chopra, Madhuri Dixit and Anushka Sharma. While Chopra and Dixit are producing a Marathi film, Sharma is producing a Hindi horror film.

“We celebrate India today with an incredible line-up of original films and series that are right now filming across India. This line-up cuts across genres from horror to fantasy and in locations from Leh to Mumbai. The breadth of stories with its local settings and complex characters is incredible and we can’t wait for people to discover and fall in love with them,” Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix said at the press conference.

Chopra’s Firebrand will be directed by Anuja Raje. The Marathi film 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 plays the role of an architect Madhav Patkar, husband of Jadhav’s character.  The film also has Sachin Khedekar and Rajeshwari Sachdev in the lead cast.

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Dixit’s Marathi film is titled 15th August. Set in a Mumbai chawl, the film 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.

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Sharma, who has produced two supernatural films before – horror comedy Phillauri (2017) and the horror flick Pari (2018), will produce her first on a digital platform and third film in the horror genre.

Bulbul 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. Years later when he returns to his village, Satya is shocked to learn that 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. The 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 haunting.

The other five original films announced are as follows:

Chopsticks, starring Abhay Deol and Mithila Palkar. Chopsticks is produced by Ashvini Yardi of Vineyard Productions and directed by Sachin Yardi. This is a story about a talented girl, who suffers from low confidence. Her car is stolen and she hires a con artist to recover, Interestingly, her car is stolen by a goat-loving Mumbai gangster.

Directed by Sarthak Dasgupta, Music Teacher has Manav Kaul in the lead. This is a story about an emotionally troubled music teacher 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.

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Then we have a film on 26/11 terror attacks of Mumbai. The film tells the stories of the survivors and the victim. Directed by Anthony Maras, the English film has Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Anupam Kher and Jason Isaacs.

Chef (2017) director Raja Krishna Menon is co-producing an original film for Netflix too. Co-produced by Menon, Janani Ravichandran and Jawahar Sharma of Bandra West Productions, Upstarts will be directed by Udai Singh Pawar. Upstarts narrates the story of three college graduates from small towns who are captivated by the startup mania sweeping the country. They enter the roller-coaster start-up ecosystem of big dreams, big money and bigger sharks, and all of this threatens to affect their friendship.

And the final film is Cobalt Blue based on the eponymous best-selling novel by author Sachin Kundalkar. Here is a story of a brother and sister who fall in love with the same man, and how it affects the traditional Marathi family.

Meanwhile, Netflix has also announced a new series titled Typewriter, to be directed by Sujoy Ghosh. It is about a haunted house and a haunted book that stir the imagination of a group of young, wannabe ghost hunters, and a dog, determined to capture a ghost in their neighbourhood in Goa.

In addition to the new content announcements, Netflix also gave updates on some content announced earlier.

Director Leena Yadav’s Rajma Chawal, that stars Rishi Kapoor, will be released on 30 November on the platform.

The teaser of the web-series Selection Day was also unveiled.  Selection Day is based on Aravind Adiga’s novel of the same name. Selection Day is a coming-of-age drama about two brothers who are raised by their strict, obsessive father to be star cricket players in India. It has Mahesh Manjrekar, Ratna Pathak Shah, Rajesh Tailang with débutante actors Yash Dholye and Mohammad Samad cast as brothers Radha and Manju Kumar, respectively.

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Netflix had earlier announced a series on the Baahubali franchise with the web-series serving as a prequel to the  SS Rajamouli created epic. Netflix announced the cast for the same. Mrunal Thakur will play the young Sivagami (a character that was played by Ramya Krishnan in the two films), while Rahul Bose plays the character as Skandadasa. Now, this is presumably a new character that fans of the franchise haven’t seen before. Other actors in the cast include Atul Kulkarni, Vaquar Shaikh, Jameel Khan, Siddharth Arora and Anup Soni.

The digital streaming giant also announced the cast for the Deepa Mehta production dystopian fictional series Leila. It has Huma Qureshi playing the title role, with Siddharth Suryanarayan also in the lead.

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