New Delhi: The first Indian OTT series based on a Korean ‘webtoon’, a digital comic meant to be read on smartphones, will be a rom-com and the deal could be signed as early as next month, says Hyunwoo Thomas Kim, CEO of Kross Pictures.
Furthering the India-South Korea link in the entertainment sector, Kross Pictures is also producing a film based on Japanese author Keigo Higashino’s 2005 bestseller mystery novel ”The Devotion of Suspect X”, Kim told PTI.
The film, set in Darjeeling and produced by director Sujoy Ghosh’s banner Boundscript, will star Kareena Kapoor Khan. Shooting is expected to begin in April.
Kim, who is co-founder of Kross Pictures, a production company that also specialises in webtoon production, described the upcoming webtoon series as a marriage to look out for between India and South Korea.
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”We are now in the very, very late stage of signing the document with one of the major OTTs of India. Once that is signed, it will be the first Indian OTT series based on a Korean webtoon. It’s going to be a rom-com. That may happen in the next month or so,” Kim told PTI in a Zoom interview from Seoul.
The webtoon graphic art form originated in South Korea.
Kim said Kross Pictures’ association with India goes back to 2015 when he started receiving ”an increase in emails from Indian producers”. The company has since made inroads into India with several ventures along with Mumbai-based Kross Komics, India’s first webtoon platform that started in 2019.
Kim said he ignored the emails at first as he had not been to India and didn’t know much about the country.
”But I continued getting many, many emails from over 10 companies and individuals. So I started thinking that there must be something about these particular stories. It was about producing a film using a Japanese novel that I had the rights to.
”That’s the movie we are finally producing… with director Sujoy Ghosh. Kareena Kapoor is our actress. We will be starting shooting in Darjeeling around that time. Seven years ago, I came to India and met Sujoy Ghosh and I liked him. (He is a) great guy. That was my first encounter with India.” Since then, the company has backed Ghosh’s 2016 production ”Te3n”, a remake of the 2013 South Korean film ”Montage”. The Hindi film starred Amitabh Bachchan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Padmavati Rao and Vidya Balan.
“The market is huge. It’s so diverse, there are many different kinds of regional films, which I was not aware of. I got fascinated with India and Indian cinema, so I wanted to be in India immediately. There was a vacancy that I could fill and that was the story.
“So we brought over Korean and Japanese stories to India to make Indian films. I have been doing this business model in different countries and I understand India was not different from the rest of the world,” he said.
Kim, who loved the Ghosh directed ”Kahaani”, said a Korean remake of the Vidya Balan-starrer is ”now casting, hoping to go on floors later this year”.
He is also backing Sonam Kapoor-starrer ”Blind” along with Ghosh. The film is a remake of the 2011 Korean film of the same name and centres around a blind police officer in search of a serial killer. It was also adapted in Tamil as ”Netrikann”, a 2021 film starring Nayanthara.
The shooting on ”Blind” is complete and they are ”almost done with the editing”, Kim added.
Kross Pictures also co-produced the 2019 Telugu film ”Oh! Baby” starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Lakshmi. It is a remake of the 2014 South Korean film ”Miss Granny”.