Amazon’s ‘The Family Man’ Puts Bollywood’s Manoj Bajpayee At Center Of India Din – TCA
James Farrell, head of international originals for Amazon Studios, said during a TCA summer press tour panel Saturday that hopes are high for The Family Man, an action drama launching in September.
India as both seedbed for storytelling and emerging commercial marketplace is a territory Amazon has long been committed to, and the company indications that this show can keep the ball rolling.
“I think it’s going to do really well,” he said of the 10-episode series. “It’s not a coincidence this is the one we’re featuring here today.”
Amazon’s two top-performing international originals from outside of the U.S. among U.S. viewers are both Indian shows, Farrell added, though he didn’t quantify that any further. “We know we have a big audience here. We’re super-excited about this one and there’s a lot more coming. … We’re super-bullish.”
Establishing production ties in India has long been a priority for Amazon on a broader corporate front as many companies see it as an emerging market with lower barriers to entry than other global territories. Netflix also has put a stake in the ground in India, bidding aggressively for projects and announcing earlier this month the launch of a mobile-only version of its service that will debut in India.
Manoj Bajpayee, an established Bollywood star, anchors the cast of The Family Man. Per Amazon’s description, the show is “an edgy action-drama series, which tells the story of a middle-class man who works for a special cell of the National Investigation Agency. While he tries to protect the nation from terrorists, he also has to protect his family from the impact of his secretive, high-pressure, and low-paying job.”
Bajpayee said the show will connect him with viewers not only in the U.S. but in 200-plus countries, in different languages. “For the first time, people who don’t speak Hindi or weren’t aware of my work” will get a chance to see him, he said. “It’s great for me to reach out to each and every corner of the world.”
Raj Nidimoru, the show’s co-creator, producer, director and writer, said the show has a very “pan-India” essence. It blends dialects and languages (including a bit of English) as well as mixing physical locations stretching from Mumbai to Kashmir to Syria. Bajpayee said shooting on location in Mumbai drove the crew “crazy,” with a din of car honks, shouts and street noise (some of which was throngs of people shouting his name).
Despite the goal of reaching a broad audience, Nidimoru said nothing was watered down at Amazon’s request during production. Farrell said a reference to the “26-11 attacks,” which refers to the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November 2008, was allowed to stand because “audiences today are so smart” and the material has more impact if it is not over-explained.
“We didn’t have to underline anything,” Nidimoru said. “The more local the angle, the more global it gets. … It’s fun to see that [the character] are like you, but they’re also dissimilar.”