×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

New Indian Production Company Shoots for Global Crime Series (EXCLUSIVE)

With “Narcos” and “McMafia” riding high, a new Indian production company from renowned investigative journalist and crime writer Hussain Zaidi is looking to bring the next wave of true-crime-inspired TV drama to international screens. Zaidi (pictured, center) has teamed with Mumbai-based distributor GoQuest Media to launch Golden Pen, a new banner that will work up crime series for the global market.

Zaidi is a renowned writer on crime and notably the Mumbai mafia. His work has been cited by “McMafia” writer Misha Glenny, and his book “Black Friday” was adapted for the big screen.

Golden Pen’s founders told Variety they founded the shingle to create crime thrillers with an Indian dimension, but intended for the world. “It was driven by trends in the entertainment industry in terms of what type of content [is in demand], and where content is travelling,” said Vivek Lath, managing director, GoQuest (above, right). “The indications were clear; there was a large opportunity to focus on crime thrillers that can travel to international markets.”

“While the content will be local, we will ensure that the appeal will be universal,” added GoQuest partner Jaspinder Kang. “This is the right time to invest resources in developing high-quality content in the genre.”

Golden Pen team also want to partner with international producers and studios looking at India-originated crime stories, and feed in their on-the-ground expertise.

Zaidi said that journalists and crime writers working up scripted ideas based on real-life lend projects authenticity. The increasingly globalized nature of organized crime also means the subject matter has inbuilt appeal beyond Indian shores.

“And it’s not just organized crime but terror networks, the whole world is now a small village and things happen internationally,” he said. “It was important that we look at stories that might look local, but have international ramifications.”

The IP will be developed from the ground-up, rather than adaptations of Zaidi’s previously published work. “My years of experience engaging with the criminal world has left me with a wealth of untold stories,” he said. His publishing imprint with Penguin, Blue Salt, has nurtured a new generation of Indian crime writers and Zaidi added there is emerging Indian writing talent who “have developed a bank of absolutely dark yet vehemently true stories,” and which Golden Pen will tap into.

The fledgling producer will create the IP and partner with producers to develop and make the series. The initial slate comprises five projects, two of which will have an international backdrop. Others will focus on cross-border crime and policing. Lath said the first greenlights will come within months.

More TV

  • Mr. Peanut to Appear in His

    Mr. Peanut to Appear in His First Super Bowl Commercial

    The monocle-wearing Mr. Peanut is about to offer snack fans an entirely new lens on Super Bowl advertising. Planters, which has featured the anthropomorphic legume for more than a century as its spokes-character, will place him in a 30-second ad slated to appear in the second quarter of CBS’ broadcast of Super Bowl LIII on [...]

  • DRG Boards Sales on Scandi Sci-Fi

    DRG Boards Sales on Scandi Sci-Fi Mystery Series ‘The White Wall’

    Scandinavian sci-fi series “The White Wall” is coming to the international market, starting at NATPE, after DRG picked up international rights to the upcoming project. Finland’s Fire Monkey and Nice Drama, part of the Nordic Entertainment Group, are making “The White Wall” for Swedish pubcaster SVT and its Finnish counterpart, YLE. It will feature a [...]

  • L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions

    Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers' Strike Rages

    Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students. More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane [...]

  • R. KellyR. Kelly in concert at

    'Surviving R. Kelly' Producers on the Lifetime Doc's Ripple Effect

    The ripple effect of “Surviving R. Kelly” continues to widen more than a week after the documentary aired on Lifetime, renewing public interest — and outrage — over the litany of sexual abuse allegations against the R&B artist. Lady Gaga and Phoenix have apologized for working with him. Chance the Rapper and other artists are said to [...]

  • Yellowstone

    Viacom Lays Off Paramount Network Staffers Amid Reorganization (EXCLUSIVE)

    Viacom has laid off a number of staffers in its entertainment group, with the majority of the affected employees hailing from Paramount Network, Variety has learned exclusively. A Viacom spokesperson declined to comment. But a source with knowledge of the situation that the number of affected employees was fewer than 20, or less than 2% of [...]

  • The Last OG

    TV News Roundup: 'Last O.G.' Sets Season 2 Premiere Date on TBS

    In today’s TV News Roundup, “The Last O.G.” announces its Season 2 return date and Variety has the exclusive first look at Fox’s new legal drama “Proven Innocent.” FIRST LOOKS Netflix has announced its new limited series “Black Earth Rising” will launch on Jan. 25. The contemporary thriller series stars Michaela Coel as Kate Ashby, a Rwandan girl [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content