Russo Brothers’ Amazon Multi-Series ‘Citadel’ India Details Revealed, ‘The Family Man’ Season 2 Unpacked (EXCLUSIVE)

The Family Man
Amazon Prime Video

Production on the India leg of the Russo Brothers’ keenly anticipated multi-series “Citadel” will begin in early 2022, creators Krishna D.K. and Raj Nidimoru have revealed.

The creators are currently in the process of completing the script along with long time collaborator Sita Menon (“Go Goa Gone”) and will begin casting after that.

The so-called “mothership” version of the global spy series is U.S.-based and there are offshoots in India, Italy and Mexico.

“Every country’s series is its own series with multiple seasons, but there’s going to be crossovers and cross-references,” Krishna told Variety.

“It’s an action thriller drama, about super agents across the world,” Nidimoru told Variety.

The U.S. component of the series, currently under production, stars Richard Madden (“Bodyguard”), Priyanka Chopra Jonas (“The White Tiger”), Stanley Tucci (“Supernova”), Ashleigh Cummings (“NOS4A2”) and Roland Møller (“Sløborn”).

Amazon is producing the show with Midnight Radio. The Italian series will be co-produced with Amazon Studios and Cattleya, part of ITV Studios, and the Indian series by Nidimoru and Krishna with Amazon Studios.

Meanwhile, Nidimoru and Krishna are basking in the success of season 2 of another Amazon spy series “The Family Man,” starring Manoj Bajpayee (“Aligarh”) and Samantha Akkineni (“Oh Baby”), which began streaming earlier this month.

The first season dealt with a terror threat in Delhi, while the second revolves around a political plot in and around Chennai, capital of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. In May, on the basis of a trailer alone, the state demanded a ban on the series on the grounds that it depicts Sri Lankan Tamils in a “highly objectionable manner.”

Tamil Nadu shares a deep linguistic and cultural connection with the Tamil-speaking population of Sri Lanka. Conflict between the island nation’s majority Sinhala population and the minority Tamils led to a deadly civil war that lasted 25 years and ended in 2009.

The filmmakers had to issue a statement at the time explaining their stance.

The protest against “The Family Man” vanished once the series began streaming. “Once the show came out it spoke for itself, so we didn’t have to really justify anything after that,” says Nidimoru.

The filmmakers also wanted to gently dismantle stereotypes about Tamil culture, which Hindi-language content has been guilty of propagating for decades. In addition, some 50% of the dialogue in the series is in the Tamil language. “All kinds of people are pretty happy with the way that the show has embraced, showcase and celebrated Tamils and Tamil culture,” says Nidimoru.

Krishna points out that he is of Tamil culture as is fellow writer Suman Kumar, while Nidimoru is a South Indian and therefore the trio are well familiar with touchy subjects in the region. Given the fraught political scenario in India today and the subject matter which remains a sensitive topic, season 2 of “The Family Man” was a bold step.

“I didn’t think there were landmines that we have to navigate as wrote, we were just writing freely from the heart, coming from a place of love and respect,” says Nidimoru. “Ultimately what has happened in our story is not really what happened in history – it’s a fictional story,” adds Krishna.

The duo have begun writing season 3, which was teased at the end of season 2.

Two more series are in the works for Amazon, an as-yet-untitled humorous crime thriller starring Shahid Kapoor (“Kabir Singh”) and Vijay Sethupathy (“Master”), and comedy “Gulkanda.” Shoots of both were underway before India’s ongoing COVID-19 situation paused them.

Amidst all this, the pair also find time to produce independent films via their D2R Indie label, the latest of which is “Cinema Bandi,” streaming on Netflix.

Elsewhere, Nidimoru and Krishna are signed up with WME. “They keep sending very interesting ideas,” says Nidimoru. “We need to figure our schedules because we have so much on our plates right now.”