Netflix has acquired Indian director Chaitanya Tamhane’s Venice and Toronto winner “The Disciple,” executive produced by Alfonso Cuaron, and will release it exclusively on the platform.
The Marathi-language film follows a singer who devotes his life to becoming an Indian classical music vocalist, diligently following the traditions and discipline of the old masters, his guru and his father. But as the years go by, disenchantment sets in.
The film was awarded the FIPRESCI prize and the best screenplay award at the 2020 Venice International Film Festival. It also played at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the Amplify Voices Award. Earlier this week, the film was nominated at the Independent Spirit Awards in the best international feature category.
The cast includes Aditya Modak, Arun Dravid, Sumitra Bhave, Deepika Bhide Bhagwat and Kiran Yadnyopavit.
After his 2014 feature film debut “Court,” which won several festival awards including at Venice, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires and Singapore, Tamhane assisted Cuaron during the making of “Roma.”
Cuaron said: “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.”
“The story of ‘The Disciple’ came from my own search for excellence and direction,” said Tamhane. “It’s about how many of us follow all the rules and yet, sometimes, find that something is missing. I was honored to get the opportunity to work with a creative genius (and my mentor) like Alfonso Cuaron.
“A great deal of research goes into making a film and my aim as a filmmaker has always been to tell my 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’.”
Pratiksha Rao, director, content acquisition, Netflix India said: “We want 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.”
“The Disciple” is produced by Vivek Gomber’s Zoo Entertainment.