Netflix’s Indian Adaptation of ‘Ray Donovan’ Finds Global Audience

Indian action crime show Rana Naidu has climbed into Netflix’s top ten list of most-watched non-English series for the second consecutive week, becoming one of the streamer’s most globally successful Hindi-language titles to date. The show is a local adaptation of CBS’ hit crime drama Ray Donovan. This week it hit fourth place on Netflix’s global charts with 16.41 million viewed hours, more than double the first week’s viewership total.

Much like Ray Donovan, which famously stars Liev Shreiber, the India show follows the titular character Rana Naidu, who makes a living by fixing the messes left behind by his famous clients. Famed as the go-to “fixer of the stars,” Naidu nevertheless struggles to cope with his own domestic situation, thanks to a fraught relationship with his wife and two children. Netflix’s India content team notes that the idea of a “fixer” is a previously unexplored conceit in the local TV and film landscape. By setting the concept within both the underbelly of the rich and famous and a relatable, dysfunctional family — with themes of betrayal and revenge — “it has captured the imagination of a large soapy drama and action loving audience.”

“To suit this narration, the creators have heavily adapted Ray Donovan in terms of its setting and characterization while keeping the Indian context at the forefront,” Netflix adds.

The Ray Donovan adaptation rights were licensed to Netflix by Paramount Global Content Distribution, which has cheered the remake’s success.

“We are thrilled with the production values that the team has brought to the Indian remake of our hit series,” says Roxanne Pompa, vp of international formats at the company. “Rana Naidu stays true to the original series while localizing for the Indian audiences,” she adds.

‘Rana Naidu’


Inspired casting was another important ingredient to the remake’s breakthrough success among the pan-Indian audience and diaspora viewership, according to Netflix. Much of the show’s drama hinges on the complicated dynamic between Rana Naidu and his estranged father Naga Naidu, who belatedly attempts to make amends with his son when is released from prison early in the show after serving 15 years for a crime he never committed. Rana and Naga are played by real-life uncle-nephew duo Venkatesh Daggubati and Rana Daggubati, who bring palpable chemistry to the family saga. Both are also huge stars, although Rana, best known for his work in the blockbuster Baahubali, is a big draw among the Hindi audience and Venkatesh is one of the biggest names in the South Indian film industry. The strong, diverse supporting cast — including Surveen Chawla, Abhishek Banerjee, Sushant Singh and Ashish Vidyarthi — further bolsters the show’s pan-India appeal. Netflix says Venkatesh and Rana Daggubati also were deeply involved in dubbing the series into Telugu and Tamil, so that the various versions of the show retain the Hindi original’s flavor and authenticity.

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