Making its first move into Indian originals, Netflix is partnering with Phantom Films on Sacred Games, a gritty thriller based on the best-selling novel by Vikram Chandra. The Hindi- and English-language series will be shot on location in Mumbai, with local and international cast, and will be available globally on the streaming service. Billed as India’s first directors’ company, Phantom was formed in 2011 by four of the country’s brightest indie filmmakers including Cannes habitué Anurag Kashyap and partners Vikas Bahl, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena.

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Originally published in 2006, Sacred Games dives into Mumbai’s intricate web of organized crime, corruption, politics and espionage which lies beneath India’s economic renaissance. The epic story interweaves the lives of the privileged, the famous, the wretched and the bloodthirsty. Music also plays a role.

Netflix is now in over 190 countries and has been ramping up its local language offerings. It recently launched the French language series Marseille, starring Gerard Depardieu, and has a host of Latin American projects joining the Colombia-set Narcos. They include Daniel Burman’s Edha out of Argentina; and Brazilian series 3% and an untitled project by Jose Padilha based on the Operation Car Wash corruption investigations.

Anurag Kashyap - Raman Raghav 2.0
Mark Mann

The CAA-repped Phantom has deals in place with Blumhouse Productions and Ivanhoe Pictures to produce multiple genre films for the global market. Its credits include Lootera, Hasee Toh Phasee, Queen, Ugly, NH10, Bombay Velvet and Masaan, which won the FIPRESCI Award in the Un certain Regard category at Cannes last year. Kashyap is arguably the country’s best known indie director. His Raman Raghav 2.0 played in Directors’ Fortnight this year, following in the footsteps of Ugly and his 2012 new wave crime epic Gangs Of Wasseypur. He also produced the lauded Indian romance The Lunchbox. It is not yet clear if he will have a directing role on Sacred Games.