MUMBAI: Streaming giant Netflix plans to go all-out with diverse original projects in India this year, through new collaborations with top-league Bollywood filmmakers Anurag Kashyap, Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, and Vikramaditya Motwane.
On Thursday, Netflix announced new original film projects for the year with Kashyap, Motwane and Johar, even as the cast of Banerjee's recently-announced "Freedom" was revealed. These projects include entertainment across genres such as drama and suspense, and also an anthology.
Kashyap will direct "Choked", about a hapless bank cashier whose life turns around when she finds a source of unlimited money choked in her kitchen. It stars Saiyami Kher and Roshan Mathew.
"I have found a home in Netflix, and with every project I do with them I feel I'm able to push my creative boundaries a little more. 'Choked' is unlike anything I've done before, much like all my outings with Netflix, and is a story that I believe will appeal to a varied audience," Kashyap said.
The filmmaker will also star alongside Anil Kapoor in "AK vs AK", which will be helmed by Motwane.
Being described as a project about a "brash film director" who kidnaps the daughter of a well-known movie star, the film will capture varied emotions as the star searches for his daughter, and the director films the desperate search in real-time to create his next blockbuster movie.
Talking about the film, Motwane said: "'AK vs AK' has an extremely unique and gripping storyline and Netflix is the perfect platform for it because of their organic disposition to take creative leaps of faith and constantly push the envelope every single time."
Anil Kapoor is happy to be back at Netflix. "Attempting your craft on a completely different platform is both exciting and daunting, and it's a challenge I'd take on only with a committed streaming service like Netflix. I've partnered with Netflix on 'Selection Day' and 'Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle' in the past and am amazed at how far and wide the stories have traveled. And being able to take this leap with Vikram (Aditya Motwane) and Anurag (Kashyap) promises to be an exceptional experience. I can't wait for these stories to come to life," said the veteran actor.
After being part of the anthologies "Lust Stories" and "Ghost Stories", Karan Johar returns to Netflix, too. He will delve into relationship complexities with his new project, tentatively titled "The Other".
The project is an anthology of four films that will showcase different facets of the "other" angle, shedding light on relationships and their complexities, "The Other" will signify the third person in a relationship. The film is produced by Johar at Dharmatic and currently is in production. The ensemble cast includes Shefali Shah, Manav Kaul, Nusrat Bharucha, Fatima Sana Shaikh, and Jaideep Ahlawat.
Said Johar: "An anthology allows us to bring together diverse creative minds to showcase different facets of the same concept in a unique manner, and Netflix presents these beautifully. 'The Other'' is one such film that delves into the various complexities of human relationships. Each director will bring their unique vision to the table, amalgamating in a piece that many viewers across the world will definitely resonate with."
Dibakar Banerjee returns to the Netflix fold with "Freedom", and the cast of the film, announced on Thursday, includes Naseeruddin Shah, Manisha Koirala, Huma Qureshi, Kalki Koechlin, Divya Dutta, Zoya Husain, Shashank Arora, and Neeraj Kabi. It traces the history of a family in three stories that are interwoven with the personal and ideological histories of India.
"'Freedom' is the story of us regular middle-class folks. With family ties, parents, grandparents, children, loves, lies and secrets lost and suppressed over generations. It's about food, ambition, sex, and betrayal. It's about what we hide and what we wear on our sleeves, and about a past and a future that we call India," Banerjee said, adding: "As a filmmaker, I want to move away from cinematic stereotypes, and working on 'Lust Stories' and 'Ghost Stories' with Netflix gave me renewed hope about creative expression in India. 'Freedom' is the next step forward.".
On the announcements, Srishti Behl Arya, Director, International Original Films (India), Netflix, said: "We are making films that our members in India and around the world will love. As we continue to expand our film slate in India, we are thrilled to work with imaginative storytellers who break boundaries and choose the unexpected over the safe. We want to be a home for India's finest filmmakers and their unique, universal and personal stories."