Sony Television, Endemol India Launch Drama Starring Amitabh Bachchan

Endemol India/Sony TV
Writer-director Anurag Kashyap (left) and Amitabh Bachchan.

The Indian film and TV icon is making his fictional-TV debut in "Yudh" following his decade-plus stint as the host of the Indian verison of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan will lend his big-screen persona to the small screen with the upcoming fshow Yudh, which will air on Sony Entertainment Television sometime in July. Last seen by international audiences in The Great Gatsby, Bachchan has been part of some of Indian filmdom's biggest hits during his four-decade career. In 2000, he forayed into television as the host of the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which recently wrapped its seventh season.

Yudh marks Bachchan's debut in a fiction series. The show, announced last June, is co-produced by Endemol India and Bachchan's production banner Saraswati Creations, with prolific writer-director Anurag Kashyap (Gangs of Wasseypur) serving as creative director. Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar (Vicky Donor) is the show's creative consultant.

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Directed by Ribhu Dasgupta, the series features Bachchan as a real estate baron Yudhishtir Skarwar, who is battling a serious medical disorder while being challenged by business rivals and complicated family equations. Deriving its title from the lead character's name, Yudh also means "war" in Hindi.
“Shot on real locations, in true cinematic style, Yudh is yet another initiative by Endemol in its ongoing endeavor toward creating differentiated and innovative programming for Indian television audiences,”  said Endemol India managing director and CEO Deepak Dhar.

Established in 2006, Mumbai-based Endemol India has produced a mix of reality and other shows, including India's versions of Fear Factor and Big Brother (which wrapped its seventh season on Viacom 18 network's Hindi channel Colors).

Multi Screen Media runs the SET network, which includes nine channels offering a mix of Hindi and regional entertainment, along with Hollywood content (on the PIX movie channel) and sports (on the MAX and SIX channels). MSM has plans of launching three new channels, possibly including another entertainment outlet.

The Hindi flagship channel SET will soon air the eighth season of the Indian Millionaire, again hosted by Bachchan.

The trend of mainstream Bollywood stars foraying into television fiction shows saw top actor Anil Kapoor starring in the Indian version of 24 last year -- the first ever localized version of the hit Fox show. The show's second season will return on Viacom's Colors channel sometime this year.