Hansal Mehta To Direct Drama Series Gandhi For Applause Entertainment – ​​Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Back in May, we revealed that Indian studio Applause Entertainment was in the process of developing a big-budget drama series about independence hero Mahatma Gandhi, and the studio has now turned to a pair of well-known faces to bolster the project.

Hansal Mehta, who directed the SonyLIV drama Applause Fraud 1992has been named its director and showrunner Gandhi (working title) and Siddhartha Basu, who worked with Applause CEO Sameer Nair on the early seasons of its Indian version Who wants to be a millionaire? (titled Kaun Banega Crorepat), has been brought on board as historical consultant, asset consultant and creative consultant.

Gandhi will be period drama set during India’s independence struggle and characterized as epic in scale, with many characters and locations from the Mahatma’s life. It is existence adapted from the books of historian and author Ramachandra Guha Gandhi before India and Gandhi – The Years That Changed the World – a pair of biographies that are among the most comprehensive ever written about the iconic freedom fighter.

Applause takes a feature film-style financing approach to its TV series – it develops scripts, hires cast, crew and creatives and shoots before selling the production to Indian streaming services. That’s very much the approach here, with Mehta and Basu joining Pratik Gandhi, who landed his namesake’s lead role two months ago, as we revealed at the time.

Mehta is known as one of the leading directors of Hindi cinema and television, known for films such as Shahid, City lights and Simran. He will lead creatively Gandhiwhich is scheduled to run for multiple seasons and will detail Gandhi’s life and relationships with friends, colleagues and enemies similar to how The crown has explored the British royal family. Notably, Mehta directed Gandhi led Pratik Gandhi inside Fraud 1992which is one of India’s top streaming hits.

Mehta told Deadline that he’s committed to the project throughout, after initially reaching out to Nair to “come on board” as director after reading our report on the project.

“There comes a time in your life when you find a story you want to tell, something you realize is going to be part of India’s storytelling history,” he said. “How could I stay away from the greatest character of modern India – the father of the nation – and Ramanchadra’s books so intricately researched with such rich material? This is my chance to explore the character and his world and tell a deep, personal story.”

“I have to tell the whole story,” he added. “There can’t be a bigger opportunity in a director’s life and I can’t just tell half the story and let someone else tell the rest.”

“We at Applause are honored to have this opportunity to tell this important story of India and bring alive the rich history of India’s freedom struggle in a deeply layered multi-season drama series,” said Nair. “A story of this magnitude needs a director of equal stature and in Hansal we have found our perfect storyteller. Working with Hansal and Pratik once again makes it even more exciting.”

Basu, known locally as the ‘Father of Quizzes on Indian TV’, has hosted several games such as Quiz time, Brain of India and University Challenge and was its original director-producer Kaun Banega Crorepat through BIG Synergy’s production vehicle. He is reuniting with Nair after 22 years — the Applause CEO commissioned the series in 2000 when he was program director at Star India.

“An emotional experience”

“The construction of it Gandhi it’s going to be an emotional experience and when a series of this magnitude and importance is made, it needs people who really believe in its importance. With Hansal’s directorial vision, Pratik’s nuanced performance and Siddhartha Basu joining the creative process, we are thrilled to bring the journey of Gandhi and India to a global audience,” said Nair.

The series will move from Gandhi’s early days to his actions as a lawyer in South Africa to India’s independence struggle, telling the lesser-known stories of his life that played an important role in shaping him into a Mahatma (a revered figure in South Africa East Asia ). He will also narrate the stories of all his countrymen and contemporaries of the freedom movement, who played an integral role in shaping what became free and modern India.

The production will be shot in India in several international locations, including London and South Africa, it is understood. Local crews and actors will be employed for the overseas production elements.

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