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Shekhar Kapur to Direct ‘Ibis’ Trilogy for Endemol Shine (EXCLUSIVE)

Acclaimed Indian director Shekhar Kapur is to direct a TV series for Endemol Shine based on historical novels by Amitav Ghosh, known as the “Ibis Trilogy.” The deal was announced at Series Mania in Lille.

The books “Sea of Poppies,” “River of Smoke,” and “Flood of Fire,” are set in mid-19th century Asia. They interweave the lives of vividly-drawn characters against the backdrop of the narcotics trade between Britain, India and China and including the “Opium Wars.”

Justin Pollard (“Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, TV’s “Vikings” and “The Tudors”) is on board as historical consultant and story editor. A lead writer has yet to be appointed.

“Our ambition is to create a major high-end franchise for the international market, matching the scale and epic sweep of the Ibis novels. This deal represents our group collaborating at its best, creating an exotic, never before seen tale with wide audience appeal,” said Lars Blomgren, head of scripted entertainment in Europe, the Middle East and Asia at Endemol Shine Group.

The agreement also brings together Endemol Shine Group companies, Artists Studio (“The Fall’) and Endemol Shine India (“Test Case”) who will produce the drama in partnership with TV packaging consultancy service DoveTale Media who initially acquired the rights to the books.

The agreement involves Endemol Shine Group companies, Artists Studio (“The Fall”) and Endemol Shine India (“Test Case”) who will produce the drama in partnership with TV packaging consultancy service DoveTale Media. DoveTale initially acquired the rights to the books.

“I have always been fascinated that the drug trade was the engine for the Industrial Revolution,” said Kapur. “Amitav Gosh’s books brilliantly bring out the vast epic and emotional tale of opium, from its beginnings in India where it is grown and onto China where it is pushed by drug lords. The story also follows the journeys of indentured labor from India to colonies around the world and tells the intriguing tales of people from India, America and China at a time when modern history was being formed.”

Kapur has been in high demand since global and regional streaming services began tapping in to high-end Indian original content formats. Kapur has a production deal with Disney’s Hotstar platform in India, and has announced plans for a musical feature film based on the life and death of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I, and better known as Sissi.

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