The Baker And The Beauty, the official Telugu remake of the Israeli series of the same name, is set to premiere on Aha on September 10, the streamer announced on social media on Thursday.
Speaking to Silverscreen India, the director of the show, Jonathan Edwards, who has previously helmed the Telugu indie film Prayanikudu (2014) and the mainstream film Amaram Akhilam Prema for Aha in 2020, says they initially considered changing the bakery in the original to a home-made sweet stall in the remake. “However, the original Israeli writers, who were part of the creative process, wanted to keep it the same. They wanted to retain the same look and feel of a bakery, with breads and all. So we agreed,” he reveals.
The series, which is created in collaboration with Annapurna Studios, is a romantic drama that follows two opposites, revolving around an unlikely romance between a middle-class youngster Vijay, who manages his parents’ small-time bakery, and the film star Aira Vasireddy, who is a loner at heart.
It marks Jonathan’s second collaboration with Aha. “Around 2019, Annapurna Studios was looking for a director for this remake. A production manager referred me to them when Amaram Akhilam Prema was in post-production. I later watched the series, and loved the way it was written with the family emotions and romance. So I agreed to do it.”
While the bakery was left unchanged in accordance with the wishes of the Israeli writes, the director says the show has been adapted to local tastes in other ways. Locations, actors, characterisations, and dialogues based on the Hyderabad Telugu slang are some of the ways the show has been tailored for the Telugu audience.
Jonathan feels the similarities between Israeli and Indian families helped in translating the original series to the Indian setting. “Families in both countries are religious, for instance,” he adds.
The web series was shot in 2019 over 47 days, mainly in Hyderabad, with a small schedule in Dubai as well.
The series features Santosh Shobhan as Vijay the baker, alongside Tina Shilparaj as the actor Aira. Veteran actor Venkat plays Aira’s manager, and the cast includes Vishnu Priya, Sai Swetha, Sangeeth Shobhan, Srikanth Iyengar, and Jhansi Laxmi.
“Tina was working in our writing department. When we were struggling to find the right actor for that role, one of my assistant directors suggested her name. We later auditioned and cast her. In the original version, her character is a model, but we changed it to an actress,” says the director.
The original Israeli version of The Baker And The Beauty consists of two seasons of 10 episodes each. The first season of the Telugu remake will also have 10 episodes with a runtime of 30-40 minutes each. The second season is in the early planning stages, and work on it will depend on the reception of the first season, the director adds.
Jonathan feels the OTT boom has provided an easy entry into the industry for young filmmakers and actors. “The content is watched from all over the world and it is a privilege to get such wide viewership. While filmmakers were limited by actors and genres in the past, I can now make any kind of story on any budget. Storytelling skills too have become stronger post the OTT boom.”
Jonathan is currently working on a feature film as his next project. He will be writing and directing this crime thriller.