20 Sep 2017
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Saif Ali Khan to star in Netflix’s first original series in India

MUMBAI: Netflix has roped in Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan to star in its first original Indian series ‘Sacred Games’.

Netflix made the announcement on the social networking site Twitter.

The series is a celluloid adaptation of Vikram Chandra’s critically acclaimed bestseller of the same name. The Hindi–English series will be produced in partnership with Anurag Kashyap’s company Phantom Films.

The series is shot on location in India and will be available to Netflix members globally. Earlier, Netflix vice president of international original series Erik Barmack said, “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.”

‘Sacred Games’ delves into Mumbai’s intricate web of organised crime, corruption, politics and espionage that lie beneath India’s economic renaissance. It is an epic masterwork of exceptional richness and power that interweaves the lives of the privileged, the famous, the wretched and the bloodthirsty.

Vikram Chandra said, “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.”

Phantom Films is a film production and distribution company set up by Kashyap, director Vikramaditya Motwane, producer Madhu Mantena and the former head of UTV Spotboy Vikas Bahl.

This association with Phantom Films was the first major move of Netflix towards localisation. Since then, Netflix has inked a deal with Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment (RCE). As part of the deal, new films starring Indian superstar SRK would be exclusively available to more than 86 million members globally. The agreement gave Netflix members both in India and around the world exclusive subscription VoD access to dozens of movies from Red Chillies Entertainment, along with new films that would hit Indian theatres within the next three years.

Netflix also acquired the streaming rights to Aamir Khan’s ‘Dangal’ for reportedly Rs 20 crore.

In India, the subscription plans are available at Rs 500–800 per month. For Rs 500, a user can get access to one SD screen; for Rs 650 per month, the content can be accessed in HD on two screens at a time. The Rs 800 per month plan will give a viewer access to 4K content on up to four screens simultaneously.

In India, Netflix competes with local OTT players like Amazon Prime, Hotstar, dittoTV, Sony Liv, Voot and Eros Now.