Provisionally titled “Matka King” and spanning a timeframe from the 1960s through the 1990s, the series is inspired by the life of Ratan Khatri, who went to Mumbai as a refugee and changed the fortunes of the have-nots around him by transforming the local gambling game of matka into a national syndicate worth billions of rupees. The appeal of matka cut across economic divides, where punters could bet as little as one rupee in the slums to hundreds of thousands being wagered in elite localities.
Khatri came to be known as the founding father of gambling in India and was called the ‘Matka King.’
Manjule’s debut feature “Fandry” (2013) received global festival play including at London and Goteborg and won best debut director at India’s National Film Awards. His next film “Sairat” (2016) remains the highest grossing film in the history of Marathi-language cinema, while sports drama “Jhund,” starring Amitabh Bachchan, is ready for release.
Roy Kapur’s latest co-production, Netflix noir series “Aranyak,” debuted at pole position in India and in the top 10 globally in December and currently occupies the no. 2 slot in India behind “Emily in Paris.”
Roy Kapur said: “ ‘Matka King’ is a story that promises to resonate with viewers across languages, geographies and cultures. It is an epic drama with a sweeping canvas, telling the story of the origins of matka, of the incredible man behind it and of how wealth became accessible to the masses, as this form of betting cut across all classes. We are excited to collaborate with the supremely talented filmmaker Nagraj Manjule and to have him on board as the showrunner. I have always admired Nagraj’s body of work and ‘Sairat’ is one of my favorite movies of the last decade.”
Manjule said: “This show will depict the reality of our world seen through the lives of the working classes whose lives depend on these everyday games of chance. My work has always tried to reflect on the unspoken realities of our country and the common man. Given the widespread popularity of matka and the enigmatic and powerful personality of our protagonist, we hope that ‘Matka King’ will provide a window into an exciting and transformational time in India, previously unexplored on screen before.”
A streaming or broadcasting partner for the series is yet to be finalized.