Netflix teams with Vishal Bhardwaj on spy thriller Khufiya

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Netflix is collaborating with Indian filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj on spy thriller Khufiya, an adaptation of Amar Bhushan’s novel Escape To Nowhere, set to star Tabu and Ali Fazal.

Bhardwaj will both direct the film and produce through his Vishal Bhardwaj Films banner. He also co-scripted the feature with film and TV writer Rohan Narula. The story revolves around an Indian spy who is assigned to track down the mole selling India’s defence secrets. 

Tabu recently starred in A Suitable Boy, directed by Mira Nair for Netflix and the BBC, while Fazal has credits including Victoria & Abdul and Furious 7. The cast also includes Ashish Vidyarthi and Wamiqa Gabbi. 

Bhardwaj is one of India’s most acclaimed filmmakers with credits including Shakespeare adaptations Maqbool, Omkara and Haider, as well as cult classic Kaminey and 7 Khoon Maaf, which played in Panorama at the Berlin film festival in 2011.

Netflix also recently signed a strategic multi-year partnership with Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar’s Excel Entertainment, which will produce an unspecified number of drama series for the streamer, and with leading Indian filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali for historical drama series, Heeramandi.

The partnership with Excel Entertainment will kick off with two projects tentatively titled Dabba Cartel and Queen Of The Hill

Dabba Cartel is a story of five housewives who run a high stakes secret cartel. Queen Of The Hill, set against the backdrop of the jazz scene in 1960s Mumbai, revolves around the dynamic relationship between two ambitious women that will change the city forever.

Excel Entertainment is known for films such as Dil Chahta Hai, Rock On, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Gully Boy, the Don franchise, and most recently boxing drama Toofan, co-produced with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. It has also produced web series for Amazon Prime including Inside Edge, Mirzapur and Made In Heaven

Heeramandi is set in a red light district in the city of Lahore before the partition of Pakistan and India. Bhansali is known for historical epic movies such as Padmaavat (2018), Bajirao Mastani (2015), Sony-backed Saawariya (2007) and Devdas (2002), which screened at Cannes.