Netflix latest Indian original series Bard of Blood is a spy thriller revolving around Indian intelligence officers and the covert missions they undertake to protect the country from external threats, Bard of Blood is based on a novel of the same name by Bilal Siddiqi. The series, directed by Ribhu Dasgupta, is produced by Red Chillies Entertainment. Kabir Anand aka Adonis (Emraan Hashmi) is a retired Indian spy turned who now teaches Shakespeare's works. When four Indian intelligence officers stationed in Balochistan are taken hostage by Taliban, Sadiq Sheikh (Rajit Kapur), the Special Director of the intelligence wing, entreats Kabir, once his protégé, to lead a clandestine rescue mission. Initially reluctant to open old wounds, Kabir is forced to take up the mission after Sheikh is shot dead at his home in Delhi by a mysterious assailant. He is joined by Isha Khanna (Sobhita Dhulipala) and Veer Singh (Viineet Kumar) on this nigh impossible mission to besiege the heart of the enemy territory.
Bard of Blood marks the web debut for Emraan Hashmi who in the recent times has shown greater flexibility with his choice of roles. “I consider myself fortunate that I am working at a time when cinema is fast evolving in our country. As a result these days I am getting the opportunities to play more diverse characters. Today the creative people such as the writers and the directors are more empowered than ever. Also, I am finding my voice as an actor. Initially in your career the films choose you and it is much later that you get to a point when you are in a position to pick and choose stuff,” explains Hashmi.
The advent of the web has opened upon a new horizon for actors like Hashmi who previously struggled with typecasting. “I am really happy with this phase especially how the OTT platforms are pushing the creativity to the next level. The kind of stories that are being conceived for the web and the characters that are being written cannot be compared to film. I think it is a great beginning. Everyone has got work now. The actors today are getting to do so many different things as opposed to earlier when they were bound by various limitations which was stifling their work but with the advent of OTT platforms they are now able to do things that they have always wanted to do,” opines Hashmi.
Hashmi has also co-authored a book titled The Kiss of Life with Bilal Siddiqi, who is also the co-creator and co-writer of the Netflix series. Interestingly, it’s Bilal who asked him to play the titular character in Bard of Blood. “I have been closely following Netflix shows like Narcos and so was really happy when I learnt that Bilal’ novel was getting a full-fledged Netflix adaptation. Initially during my discussions with Bilal I would recommend him other actors but then one evening he asked me to play the character of Kabir and I didn’t even think twice before agreeing to do the part because I thought it had great potential, especially with Red Chillies producing it for a platform like Netflix,” reveals Hashmi.
Sobhita Dhulipala, fresh from the success of the Amazon series Made in Heaven, looks set to consolidate her new found mojo with Bard of Blood. She had made her debut with Anurag Kashyap’s 2014 crime thriller Raman Raghav 2.0 and followed it up with Akshat Verma’s 2018 black comedy Kaalakaandi. Dhulipala has also done a couple of regional language films in between but success finally came her way with Zoya Akhtar’s show Made in Heaven. “It’s the reception on the web that has made the difference. I have been constantly taking chances with the scripts. They have all been gambles. So it’s very heartening for me that after a couple of films both of which are very experimental I have found such a warm welcome on the web,” rejoices Dhulipala whose upcoming projects include Geetu Mohandas’ bilingual film Moothon, Srinath Rajendran’s Malayalam film Kurup, and the anthology horror film Ghost Stories.
Viineet Kumar, who completes the trio, has emerged as a powerhouse performer with his hard-hitting portrayal of a boxer in Anurag Kashyap’s 2017 sport drama Mukkabaaz. He followed it up with another memorable performance in Reema Kagti’s period sports drama Gold. In Bard of Blood, he again plays a very interesting character. “The character of Veer is something that I haven’t done before. Now, I have been getting a lot of offers from OTT platforms but I was looking for the right opportunity. Character and story were main reasons why I was drawn to Bard of Blood. Also, since it’s produced by Red Chillies Entertainment for Netflix I was quite assured that the quality of production would be truly world class. As an actor one can’t really ask for more,” reveals Kumar who is next set to star in films like Saand Ki Aankh, Aadhaar, Kargil Girl, and Tryst with Destiny.
“We had multiple reading sessions with all the actors. So it made us get a better sense of the world and the characters. Then there was also the physical aspect. We had to get used to the guns and the ammunition before starting with the actual shoot as we didn’t want to leave anything to the guesses. It was important to get the body language and the choreography spot on. When a book is adapted into a screenplay the characters go through some changes and so in order to interpret Kabir I had to try and understand it from the perspective of the author (Bilal), the screenwriters (Mayank Tewari and Bilal) as well as the director (Ribhu). Then of course there was my own perspective. I think all these things contributed to developing a deep sense of the character,” explains Hashmi whose upcoming projects include Chehre, The Body, Mumbai Saga, Vayusena, and Ezra.
Bard of Blood also stars Kirti Kulhari, Jaideep Ahlawat, Sohum Shah, Danish Husain, and Shishir Sharma in pivotal roles. The series is all set to launch on 27th September, 2019 on Netflix and all the seven episodes of the series will stream at the same time across 190 countries.