Congratulations are in order for former General Hospital: Night Shift head writer Sri Rao, who has partnered with Netflix in a deal posed to bring his writing talents to millions of people around the globe.
According to Variety, Rao has signed a first-look deal with the streaming service that will see him creating and developing scripted and unscripted series under his Sri & Company label, which aims to tell original stories centered on South Asian characters, with a particular focus on women and the LGBTQ+ community.
The first project will be Roa's The Henna Artist, a series now in development that is based on Alka Joshi's bestselling debut novel of the same name. Set against the romantic backdrop of 1950s Jaipur, India, the series will star Frieda Pinto as Lakshmi, the city's most in-demand henna artist. Lakshmi gains access to the secrets of the city's wealthiest women as she builds her life in newly independent India and also falls in love, but her status is threatened by the secrets of her past.
Rao is also currently finalizing the upcoming series Finding Anamika with Netflix's creative team in India. The series stars Bollywood star Madhuri Dixit and is set to premiere in early 2022.
"For the longest time, no one in Hollywood was interested in my experiences as an Indian-American person. I often found myself creating worlds that were filled entirely of white characters. But I held on long enough to get to this point where the industry is slowly changing," Rao said in a statement. "Our mission at Sri & Company is to find the most talented South Asian writers, actors, authors, and other artists from around the world and create compelling content that's entertaining for all audiences, regardless of the color of their skin."
Adds Nne Ebong, Netflix's vice president of overall deals, "We've seen global stories resonate and become more embraced around the world -- their impact is universal. It's one of the reasons we're so excited to collaborate with Sri Rao. He's a gifted writer and director whose unique perspective as a Bollywood and Hollywood storyteller will help bring to life stories that will entertain our global members and enable them to see themselves and their experiences reflected on screen."
Rao's writing career kicked off in 2007 with What Goes on, a ten-episode series that he created and wrote. He followed that up with the position of head writer at the short-lived General Hospital spin-off series General Hospital: Night Shift, where he helmed the scripts for the primetime soap opera's second (and last) season.
Some of Rao's other writing credits include the films Baar Baar Dekho, White House Affairs, I Am Not Myself These Days, The Black Widow, and Untitled Kelly Ripa Comedy. He also produced the films New York and Badmaash Company for Yash Raj Films, as well as wrote a cookbook called Bollywood Kitchen that pairs recipes with contemporary Bollywood musicals.
What do you think about Sri Rao signing a first-look deal with Netflix? What are your thoughts on the premise of his first Netflix series, The Henna Artist? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.