How Shah Rukh Khan Helped Shape Netflix’s Betaal
Betaal — the supernatural zombie horror series releasing this Sunday — is the second Netflix original for Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies, after Bard of Blood last year. And though Khan is an uncredited producer — as he prefers — on Betaal, he had a creative role to play as well. For one, Khan is responsible for the Netflix series' exact title, Betaal creator Patrick Graham revealed to Gadgets 360: “It was originally Betal with one 'a'. Now it's Betaal, so that's Shah Rukh who put the extra 'a' in.”
More importantly, Khan advised the makers of Betaal on the script stage, giving them tips on how to make it more accessible to Indians — Betaal is arguably the first zombie series in the country — and offering suggestions on a plot level to make the events more emotionally resonant.
Graham said Khan's script feedback was “excellent”, while his co-director Nikhil Mahajan called him “highly intelligent”. For Mahajan, who came to Mumbai and the film industry because of Khan, meeting him was also like the poetic end to a circle.
“We had this wonderful three-hour narration with Shah Rukh and he's the only person I've ever narrated to who actually looked me in the eye throughout,” Graham added. “He never once got distracted, he didn't look at his phone. It was actually a really remarkable experience; I will never forget it.”
Mahajan noted that Khan sat with a small notebook and diligently wrote in it: “And when the narration was over, he took us ...
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