First look at Shantaram on Apple TV+ shows thrills and romance in 1980s Bombay


“Shantaram” is a new Apple Original drama series starring Charlie Hunnam.
“Shantaram” is a new Apple Original drama series starring Charlie Hunnam.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ offered a first look at upcoming drama series Shantaram this week in the form of a photo of star Charlie Hunnam (Son of Anarchy) in character, plus a rundown of the cast and plot of the adventure-romance, set to premiere October 14.

And speaking of drama and adventure, the production ran into big trouble on the way to becoming a reality.

Drama series Shantaram, starring Charlie Hunnam, set to premiere October 14 after troubled production

The Apple TV+ “first look” is mainly about a photograph of Hunnam sitting on, or possibly riding, a motorcycle somewhere in 1980s Bombay (now Mumbai). That’s where the series and the bestselling novel it’s based on, by Gregory David Roberts, are set.

Production on the series in Australia ran into trouble and halted for a few months in early 2020, with just two of 12 episodes shot. That’s because writer, showrunner and co-creator Eric Warren Singer left after reportedly failing to complete scripts in time for shooting.

Apple TV+ had to find a new showrunner, which isn’t uncommon. After all, Apple had to find new showrunners for Amazing Stories, The Morning Show and Foundation.

In early 2021, Steve Lightfoot took over as showrunner for Shantaram and production got back on track.

And that’s great, because adapting the sprawling tale to the screen is apparently not easy. Multiple past attempts have failed.

What’s Shantaram about?

The streaming service called the series “a hopeful cinematic love story coupled with a thrilling epic adventure that follows one man’s journey to redemption through a country that changes his life.”

The story follows a Hunnam as fugitive Lin Ford. He’s an Aussie bank robber on the lam who looks to get lost in vibrant and chaotic Bombay. Apparently, the place was wild in the 1980s.

He’s new to the sprawling place, but he meets and falls for an enigmatic woman named Karla (Antonia Desalt). Then, as Apple TV+ put it, “he must choose between freedom or love and the complications that come with it.”

Cast and schedule

Along with Hunnam and Desplat, the series stars Shubham Saraf, Elektra Kilbey, Fayssal Bazzi, Luke Pasqualino, Alyy Khan, Sujaya Dasgupta, Vincent Perez, David Field, Alexander Siddig, Gabrielle Scharnitzky, Elham Ehsas, Rachel Kamath, Matthew Joseph and Shiv Palekar.

Shantaram debuts with its first three episodes of its 12-episode first season on Friday, October 14. Then one new episode follows weekly on Fridays through December 16.

The series is co-created, written and executive produced by Lightfoot, who also serves as showrunner. Bharat Nalluri directs and executive produces. Andrea Barron, Nicole Clemens, Steve Golin and Justin Kurzel also executive produce along with Eric Warren Singer, who co-created the series. Paramount Television Studios and Anonymous Content’s AC Studios produced the show for Apple.

The series is based on the best-selling book of the same title.
The series is based on the best-selling book of the same title by Gregory David Roberts.
Photo: t. Martin’s Griffin

Getting Apple TV+

Since its launch in late 2019, Apple TV+ has premiered more original hits and received more award recognitions faster than any other streaming service, Apple said. So far, Apple Original films, documentaries and series have netted 250 wins and 1,123 award nominations, including this year’s Oscar Best Picture winner CODA.

Apple TV+ is available by subscription for $4.99 with a seven-day free trial. You can also get it via any tier of the Apple One subscription bundle.


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