Netflix Orders Prequel Series to Indian Epic 'Baahubali'

Courtesy of Arka Mediaworks
'Baahubali: The Conclusion'

The streaming giant has ordered two seasons of 'Baahubali: Before the Beginning.'

Netflix is continuing its aggressive push into India with a two-season order of Baahubali: Before the Beginning, a prequel to the blockbuster movie franchise Baahubali. 

Baahubali: Before the Beginning will see Netflix partnering with Arka Media Works and director S. S. Rajamouli, who helmed both 2015's Baahubali: The Beginning and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, released in 2017. Deva Katta and Praveen Sattaru will together direct the series.

The basis of the Baahubali story revolves around warring royal cousins in an ancient mythical kingdom, Mahishmati. Season one of the Netflix series will comprise of 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.

Further details such as casting, release dates and budgets were not given.

Last year rival Amazon Prime Video streamed an animated series Baahubali: The Lost Legends, which was inspired by the Baahubali films, co-produced with Graphic India.

The two Baahubali movies were shot back to back for an estimated budget of $40 million, making them the most expensive Indian production ever. In addition to the original Telugu language version, the films were also released in Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam. Both films are also available on Netflix.

The first film went on to gross an estimated $100 million worldwide while the sequel made box office history, grossing $270 million globally, including $20 million in the U.S, making the franchise the biggest hit in Indian cinema at the time.

Netflix recently premiered its first Indian original, Sacred Games, to critical local acclaim. The streaming giant's upcoming Indian series include The Bard of Blood, produced by superstar Shah Rukh Khan's banner Red Chillies Entertainment. It will feature Bollywood actor Emraan Hashmi as an expelled spy, Kabir Anand, who is recalled from his new life as a Shakespeare professor to save his country and long-lost love.