Netflix to stream Indian epic as series
James R | On 25, Nov 2015
Netflix will stream the Indian epic film Gangs of Wasseypur next month – but with a twist.
The streaming giant has developed a strategy of acquiring or developing international content to accompany the launch of the service in new markets. Titles from target countries, both original and bought, have included French, Australian and Spanish series. As Netflix and Amazon both eye up launches in India, the news that Netflix has acquired Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur for streaming is to be expected. The site, though, plans to do something different with it: the two-part epic will be released as a TV series.
The specially edited version of the movie, which premiered at Cannes in 2012 as part of the Director’s Fortnight strand, will be split into eight segments to encourage binge-viewing of the story from global audiences, with the series available in English, Spanish, French, Arabic and Chinese.
Netflix has bought the worldwide rights through a deal with digital rights aggregator Film Karavan, producer Guneet Monga and Cinelicious, which holds the film’s North American rights. Speaking at the Film Bazaar in Goa at the start of the week, The Hollywood Reporter quotes Kashyap as saying the deal “reflects how digital distribution can play a role in expanding a film’s audience after its theatrical release”.
“The other advantage of a web series is that we do not need to deal with obnoxious censorship and we have creative freedom,” he added.
Karavan has also negotiated the sale of 20 further films to Netflix, as it boosts its Indian movie line-up, including Fandry, Amal, Loins of Punjab, Kshay and Suleimaani Keeda – all films that mark a departure from mainstream Bollywood titles. Karavan has also sold Netflix several traditional Bollywood movies, including the hit comedy Piku, which is scheduled for a January release date.
“The fact that mainstream Bollywood films are being subtitled in various languages for global streaming indicates at the potential of Indian films seeking an audience beyond the diaspora,” Film Karavan co-founder Pooja Kohli Taneja told THR.
Gangs of Wasseypur stars The Lunchbox’s Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Manoj Bajpai, alongside Huma Qureshi and Richa Chadha, and follows the story of the coal mafia in the Indian state of Bihar across several generations.
The film will stream in the first week of December, according to the THR, although there is no confirmed UK release date yet.