Filmmaker Ram Madhvani, creator of Emmy-nominated series ‘Aarya’ and director of upcoming film ‘Dhamaka’, is now prepping to make a series titled ‘The Waking of a Nation’.
The series is set against the backdrop of an infamous event in Indian colonial history, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, which took place on April 13, 1919, reports variety.com.
A large, peaceful protest gathering, part of the Indian independence movement, was taking place at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab. British troops led by Brigadier-General R.E.H. Dyer surrounded the venue, blocked the only exit and opened fire on the gathering, causing the deaths of hundreds, while thousands of others were injured.
The massacre is considered to be a pivotal moment in the Indian freedom movement.
A commission, led by Lord Hunter, was appointed by the British Indian government in October of that year, to look into the events in Punjab.
“It’s a six part or seven part series, which is going to talk about the commission, so it’s a bit like a court case, but it also talks about what happened, what led to it and what happened after it, which I think is as important as what happened on the day,” Ram Madhvani told Variety.
“Because, why did Jallianwala Bagh happen? And I think a lot of us don’t know why it happened a” we know what happened, but what led to it?”
The final draft of the script will be ready in two months time and a major global streamer has approached Madhvani about the series already.
Meanwhile, Ram Madhvani is busy with the second season of hit series ‘Aarya’.
The series is an adaptation of Dutch show ‘Penoza’, where a woman has to join a mafia gang and avenge her slain husband. The project was initially set up as a feature film at Fox Star Studios but fell through a month before the shoot and Madhvani went on to direct the acclaimed hijack drama ‘Neerja’, starring Sonam Kapoor, for the studio.
‘Aarya’, however, was on the Disney Plus Hotstar radar and it greenlit the series. The series is headlined by former Miss Universe and Bollywood star Sushmita Sen, for whom season 1 was a triumphant comeback after a five-year break due to illness.
There are plans for more seasons of ‘Aarya’.
What attracts Ram Madhvani to a project is the thought behind it and not just the plot.
“I do put in a certain philosophical angle, and when I get that angle, I say I want to make this because you have to lift it from plot,” says Madhvani.
Similarly, when Bollywood star Kartik Aryan approached him with the idea of an Indian adaptation of Korean film ‘The Terror Live’ (2013), about an ambitious news anchor who covers an unfolding terrorist scenario, which became ‘Dhamaka’, Madhvani looked beyond just the plot.
“Just like ‘Neerja’ is not just a hijack story, ‘Dhamaka‘ is really about a fallen hero, a tragic hero, who is somebody who pays the price of ambition,” says Ram Madhvani.
“I want to try and see how I can make it so that it reaches out to you in a way that a question is posed, which is what will you lose? And what will you gain? And what are the value systems?,” says Madhvani.
“Because one of the things I do want to put out is, I like tragedy. I think that catharsis is very important. In today’s world, I think we need to cry.”
‘Dhamaka’, produced by Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP Movies and Ram Madhvani Films in association with Lotte Cultureworks, Globalgate Entertainment and Lionsgate, streams on Netflix from November 19.
‘Aarya’ is nominated for best drama series at the International Emmy Awards, which will take place on November 22 in New York.