Sacred Games: Netflix launches its first Indian drama series


Saif Ali Khan in Sacred Games

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Netflix

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Saif Ali Khan plays a Sikh inspector in the Mumbai police force

Netflix has launched its first original Indian series, part of the subscription giant’s bid to woo consumers in the world’s second most populous country.

Sacred Games sees Bollywood stars Saif Ali Khan and Radhika Apte play a police officer and intelligence officer on the trail of a powerful criminal kingpin.

The eight-part series, filmed mainly in Hindi, is the first of seven Indian series that Netflix has commissioned.

Others include an adaptation of Sir Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children.

“India is seeing the biggest and fastest investment in content for any country we have launched in,” said Erik Barmack, Netflix’s vice-president of international originals.

The company launched in India in 2016. Subscriptions start at 500 rupees (around £5) a month.

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AFP

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Billboards for the series currently festoon the Mumbai skyline

Other Indian series in the pipeline include Ghoul, a horror set in a covert detention centre, and Crocodile, a murder mystery set in Goa.

Mr Barmack told BBC News the series “represent the tremendous diversity that Indian storytelling holds for a global audience”.

He said: “We’re actually commissioning more shows and films in India relative to the time that we’ve been in market than any other territory outside the US.”

The availability of cheap data and the burgeoning number of smartphone users have made India one of the world’s fastest-growing internet markets.

Yet Netflix faces stiff competition from homegrown apps like Hotstar and Voot, while Amazon Prime has 11 million monthly subscribers, compared with Netflix’s five million.

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