Netflix Buys World Rights To Venice Film Festival Winner ‘The Disciple’

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Los Angeles: Streaming platform Netflix has picked up critically-acclaimed and award-winning musical drama “The Disciple”, directed by Indian director Chaitanya Tamhane. The Marathi language film, executive-produced by Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron, made its European premiere at the 77th Venice Film Festival where it won the best screenplay award last year. “The Disciple”, also written and edited by Tamhane, follows Sharad Nerulkar (Aditya Modak), an Indian classical vocalist trying to achieve purity in his work as he has been raised on the stories of his father and guru about the masters of the past But as the years pass, Sharad will be forced to negotiate between the complex realities of life in contemporary Mumbai and his chosen path, leading him to find his true voice in music and in life.

According to Deadline, Endeavor Content made the deal with Netflix. New Europe Film Sales previously repped European sales. Cuaron mentored Tamhane after he made his feature debut with 2014 festival favourite “Court”, which saw the latter win the Lion Of The Future award in Venice.

Tamhane said he is happy the film is heading to Netflix and thanked his mentor Cuaron for his support. “The story of ‘The Disciple’ came from my own search for excellence and direction. It’s about how many of us follow all the rules and yet, sometimes, find that something is missing. “I was honoured to get the opportunity to work with a creative genius (and my mentor) like Alfonso Cuaron – who directed ‘Roma’ and ‘Gravity’. And now, not only has Netflix acquired it to stream to a discerning global audience. I’m truly grateful and humbled that global industry stalwarts have found this film worthy,” the director said.

His aim as a filmmaker, Tamhane said, has always been to tell his story “authentically within a dramatic framework”. “One also needs to afford the audience intelligence and intuition to be able to invest in your story, no matter what the cultural context may be. I’m glad this approach worked out well for ‘The Disciple’,” he added. Cuaron, whose multiple Oscar-winning Spanish-language film “Roma” was released on Netflix, said he is glad “The Disciple” will be able to reach a global audience.

“I believe Chaitanya is one of the most important new voices of contemporary cinema and I’m thrilled ‘The Disciple’ will be able to be enjoyed by audiences all around the world,” he added. Pratiksha Rao, Director, Content Acquisition, Netflix India, said the streaming platform wants to be the home for India’s finest films and filmmakers. “As we expand our film slate and tell more diverse stories from across the country, we are thrilled to be the home for Chaitanya Tamhane’s, ‘The Disciple’. “The film is a beautiful story of aspiration, struggle and self-doubt, and celebrates the magic of visual storytelling in the backdrop of Indian classical music, that we can’t wait to share with the world,” Rao said.

“The Disciple” also received the prestigious FIPRESCI award, given by international film critics, in Venice and earned the Amplify Voices Award at the 45th Toronto International Film Festival, where the film had its North American premiere. Produced by Vivek Gomber, the film also stars Arun Dravid, Sumitra Bhave, Deepika Bhide Bhagwat and Kiran Yadnyopavit.

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