‘Baahubali’ prequel series announced by Netflix

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Handout picture from ‘Baahubali 2: The Conclusion’

MUMBAI – Superhit Indian film franchise “Baahubali” is set to get a prequel — in the form of a series — and director S.S. Rajamouli is happy to take the epic to the world through Netflix.

The online streaming platform on Thursday announced it is set to make a series based on one of India’s highest-grossing films franchise “Baahubali”. It will be an adaptation of “The Rise of Sivagami”, a prequel novel to the 2015 film.

Director S.S. Rajamouli, who helmed both the instalments of the hit franchise — “Baahubali: The Beginning” (2015) and “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion” (2017) — has teamed up with Arka Media Works and Netflix for the series.

Rajamouli said in a statement: “The World of ‘Baahubali’ is extensive and immersive with strong characters and larger than life kingdoms. The films ‘Baahubali -The Beginning’ and ‘The Conclusion’, are from one story set in this world and more dramatic stories were broadly conceived while building the Universe.

“With Netflix as our partner, we have the opportunity to create a rich and riveting series and take this quintessential Indian epic to the world, which is very gratifying to me as a story-teller.”

The basis of the “Baahubali” story revolves around warring royal cousins in an ancient mythical kingdom, Mahishmati.

The two “Baahubali” movies were shot back-to-back for an estimated budget of $40 million, making them the most expensive Indian productions ever. In addition to the original Telugu language version, the films were also released in Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam languages.

Season one of the Netflix series will comprise nine episodes based on Anand Neelakantan’s book “The Rise of Sivagami”, which tells the story of Mahishmati’s queen Sivagami and how the city-state evolved into an empire.

According to Erik Barmack, Vice President of International Originals at Netflix, “Baahubali” is a world-class franchise that epitomises the power of compelling stories that resonate globally.

“We are excited to work with some of the world’s most talented writers and producers on one of India’s most beloved stories. The series is a tremendous opportunity for us to give audiences more of the universe that they have come to love, and welcome millions more into the global ‘Baahubali’ fandom,” Barmack added.

The casting and release dates of the series have not been revealed yet.

Netflix has scored a hit with its first India original series “Sacred Games”, based on Vikram Chandra’s book.

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