2 min read.Updated: 24 Sep 2019, 12:44 PM ISTLata Jha
'Bard of Blood' features Emraan Hashmi, Sobhita Dhulipala and Viineet Kumar Singh
The Bard of Blood promotions were flagged off by producer Shah Rukh Khan himself, who appeared in the first look along with Emraan Hashmi
New Delhi: American streaming service Netflix refuses to slow down its aggressive play in India despite a mixed response to its last high-profile offering Sacred Games 2. The Reed Hastings-owned video-on-demand platform is now ready to release its next big-budget show Bard of Blood on 27 September — a web series boasting of international production quality that can travel globally and help acquire more paying subscribers in the country.
The show, created at a cost of ₹50 crore according to entertainment industry experts, comes with the pull of a mainstream movie star such as Emraan Hashmi, and is co-produced by actor Shah Rukh Khan’s company Red Chillies Entertainment. It features Sobhita Dhulipala and Vineet Kumar Singh along with Hashmi.
“Bard of Blood is a spy thriller, every beat is about chase and action, like any international, high-quality movie or series that you would see. We’ve shot across Ladakh, Rajasthan, Delhi and many other states, beautifully recreating Balochistan and Afghanistan," according to Monika Shergill, director, international originals, Netflix India. “There are two things we will perfect going forward — high concept and high quality. We are very clear we stand for that at Netflix."
Both from a story and production quality point of view, Bard of Blood has the ability to be language agnostic, according to Shergill. It completely embodies the ethos of high-quality shows that Netflix creates for a global audience.
“The overall strategy of most large streaming players will continue to be dominated by three or four tent pole Indian originals per year that will create media buzz and attract big stars," said Jehil Thakkar, partner at Deloitte India.
It was only a matter of time that big stars begun to come to OTT platforms, he added. The Bard of Blood promotions were flagged off by producer Khan himself, who appeared in the first look along with Hashmi. In the coming days, Shergill said, there would be activities across print, broadcast and digital platforms, including select interactions with Khan.
“Bard of Blood is a very big show and in the same commercial league as Sacred Games for us. It will appeal to a very large audience so it’s not a question of which medium to focus on. The challenge is what to do and what not to do. It’s such a mass series that we really want to touch every kind of audience out there," according to Shergill.
The show based on the 2015 espionage novel of the same name by Bilal Siddiqui, is also the first example of having the author of a book script its series adaptation.
“Once Netflix is on board, they are involved in every aspect of the show, including creative. And, of course, they are leaders of this game. They have redefined what shows on the Internet are," said Siddiqui, who was interning with Red Chillies while writing the book and later pitched it to Netflix for a show along with the company’s chief revenue officer, Gaurav Verma.
As the first of its collaborations with Red Chillies, Bard of Blood is an important example of the kind of relationship Netflix wants to nurture in the Indian entertainment industry. After the spy thriller, it is planning Betaal, a horror series with Red Chillies. This will be directed by Patrick Graham— who earlier helmed Netflix’s horror series Ghoul—along with Nikhil Mahajan. Shergill said the streaming service was collaborating with Khan’s company on multiple projects.
“As we bring more series out, we are keen to continue investing in great talent, whether writers, directors or showrunners," Shergill said.