Priyanka Chopra, Richie Mehta, Anurag Kashyap Board Awedacious Slate

Priyanka Chopra Jonas (“The White Tiger”), Richie Mehta (“Delhi Crime”) and Anurag Kashyap (“Sacred Games”) are among the luminaries who are part of Awedacious Originals’ slate.

Awedacious is a production company led by Apoorva Bakshi, one of the producers of Mehta’s International Emmy-winning Netflix series “Delhi Crime,” and Monisha Thyagarajan, who served as associate producer on the show.

Srishti Bakshi’s documentary “Women of my Billion,” which has just been announced as the winner at the UN SDG Action Awards in their Changemaker category, has been boarded by Chopra Jonas and her company Purple Pebble Pictures. The film narrates the plight, dreams, rights and fight against all forms of violence, that unify the women of today’s India, via Bakshi’s epic foot journey of 3,800km over 240 days, from Kanyakumari (South India) to Kashmir (North India). Chopra Jonas will serve as presenter for the film, which is in distribution negotiations.

“Purple Pebble Pictures was created with the desire to magnify new talent with culturally specific, diverse and relevant stories that deserve a platform. Aligning with production companies like Awedacious allows us to fulfill our ambition of bringing these hyper specific and disruptive stories to market — making them more accessible to a global audience, and that’s very exciting to us especially in the streaming world,” Chopra Jonas told Variety.

“I couldn’t be more excited to collaborate with Apoorva again, she has proven time and time again to support my vision, work alongside me to execute it, and brings passion, fervor, and dedication to everything she touches,” Mehta told Variety. He is currently filming an untitled documentary on illegal mining for Awedacious.

Kashyap is in pre-production on an untitled true crime series that is bound for a global streamer. “It’s a very exciting true crime series. I’m a big fan of what they pulled off with ‘Delhi Crime’,” Kashyap told Variety.

In all, Awedacious has 19 projects in development, one of which, “Wakhri” (“One of a Kind”), a Pakistani Urdu language feature that previously participated at Open Doors at Locarno in 2018 and Cinefondation’s Atelier at Festival de Cannes 2019 is at Busan’s Asian Project Market this year. The film, by Iram Parveen Bilal (“I’ll Meet You There”), will follow a widowed school teacher in rural Pakistan who becomes a viral sensation overnight when she accidentally unleashes her unabashed opinions on social media.

Other projects in development include “Dhanya,” a Malayalam-language cybercrime slasher thriller starring Parvathy Thiruvothu and directed by Leena Manimekalai.

 “Watching season one of ‘Delhi Crime’ years ago, I felt super jealous of the sheer brilliance and authenticity of the work. The name Apoorva Bakshi has had a special place in my heart since then. It must be the plan of the cosmos that brought Apoorva and Monisha as an irresistible force in my life. Our bond is nurtured by the power of sisterhood. ‘Dhanya’ will be our first brainchild andI can’t wait to experience the alchemy of our collaboration,” Manimekalai told Variety.

Also in development is Kamal K.M.’s “Alhamdulillah!,” a Malayalam-language feature inspired from the life of transgender activist and educator Aneera Kabeer.

Completed films beginning their festival journey include Aizahn Kassymbek’s “Madina,” a co-production with Kazakhstan, where a single mother, dancer, and breadwinner struggles to take care of her old grandmother, a withdrawn younger brother, and a two-year-old daughter; Sivaganesh’s “Paraasakthi” (“The Goddess”), where an actor embarks on a emotional journey sparked by the loss of his mother; and Ajai Vishwanath’s immigrant story “Starch.”

Bakshi and Thyagarajan told Variety: “Awedacious was born out of a collective thirst to produce awe-inspiring and audacious stories through collaborative partnerships with fearless filmmakers. We aim to share bold, unusual and compelling narratives that stop you in your tracks, make you think and feel more deeply and share the same with the widest audiences possible, even if that means pushing boundaries and taking risks.”

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