Netflix is expanding the Baahubali franchise, giving a two-season order to Baahubali: Before The Beginning. The streaming service’s next Indian original series will be a prequel to the hugely successful features Baahubali: The Beginning and Baahubali: The Conclusion, the Tollywood epics directed by S.S. Rajamouli that broke records in 2015 and 2017. (Check out a taste in the video above.)
Baahubali: Before The Beginning‘s first nine-episode season is based on the book by Anand Neelakantan, The Rise Of Sivagami. It will trace Queen Sivagami’s journey from a rebellious and vengeful girl to a wise and unequaled queen. Power, politics and intrigue find themselves juxtaposed against the rise of Mahishmati — from being a city-state to an empire.
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The first period action sagas were set in the Mahishmati Kingdom and starred Telegu industry fixture Prabhas and Anushka Shetty. Ramya Krishnan played Sivagami. There is no word yet on casting for the series which is said to build on the narrative style of the franchise, including its high production values, spectacular visuals and connective-epic storytelling.
Each of the features broke records upon release and became outright phenomenons. Baahubali: The Conclusion is the 2nd highest grossing Indian film of all time having collected over $270M at the worldwide box office including $20M in the U.S. Collectively, the films make up the biggest franchise ever out of India.
Netflix has partnered with the team behind the Baahubali universe, including Arka Media Works and Rajamouli for the series. Deva Katta and Praveen Sataru will together direct.
Says Rajamouli, “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. The Baahubali series, a prequel to the films, is one such story. I am very excited that this is being adapted as a Netflix original series. 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 storyteller.”
Prasad Devineni, producer for Arka Media Works, adds, “We have been working for over a year now in developing this story, a prequel to the films as an Netflix original series. We are happy to be partnering with Netflix to produce this amazing story. This partnership gives us the reach and the creative freedom to bring to life the full potential of the series in all its grandeur and exceed the high expectations set by both our films.”
For Netflix VP of International Originals Erik Barmack, “Baahubali is a world-class franchise that epitomizes 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.”
This is the third Indian original for Netflix following gritty crime drama Sacred Games and horror series Ghoul. The original Baahubali movies are currently also available on Netflix.
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