Netflix premieres Hindi-language thriller in India

Indian Bollywood film director and producer Kabir Khan attending the screening of Netflix’s Sacred Games in Mumbai, on June 28, 2018.
Indian Bollywood film director and producer Kabir Khan attending the screening of Netflix’s Sacred Games in Mumbai, on June 28, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

MUMBAI • Netflix is casting a wider net to hook more viewers in Asia, premiering in India its first original series - a Hindi-language thriller - on Wednesday.

Like other American entertainment rivals, it has identified the need to create local content to ramp up business in some of the big emerging markets that are likely to fuel growth over the next decade.

Set in Mumbai, Sacred Games launches less than a month after the success of Netflix's Indian film, Lust Stories. It comes at a time when fellow United States heavyweights Comcast and Walt Disney are vying for control of Indian pay television network Tata Sky as part of their fight for 21st Century Fox.

Both Lust Stories and Sacred Games seek to marry the Western styles and values that exposure to Netflix and Amazon has brought to younger Indians, with the rich and varied output of the country's massive domestic film industry.

Netflix plans to release another three original shows in India this year, compared with Amazon's projected 10.

Sacred Games is anchored by Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan, as a policeman with 25 days to head off a terrorist threat to Mumbai.

The film's stars and directors, all veterans of Bollywood, greeted more than 250 invited Netflix fans and celebrities outside tech capital Bangalore's Forum Mall for the premiere.

The company, whose international streaming revenue grew more than 58 per cent last year, has also expanded its Asian fare.

It has acquired worldwide streaming rights for two Chinese movies that reigned at the domestic box office this year - Us And Them and Animal World.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2018, with the headline 'Netflix sets sights on India'. Print Edition | Subscribe