- Gregory David Roberts’ novel tells the story of a heroin addict and convicted bank robber who, in the 1980s, flees Australia to India, where he reinvents himself as a doctor and a gangster in the slums of Bombay.
British Indian actor Shubham Saraf has been cast to star in the upcoming Apple TV+ adaptation of Gregory David Roberts’s bestseller “Shantaram,” Variety has reported. It tells the story of a heroin addict and convicted bank robber who, in the 1980s, flees Australia to India, where he reinvents himself as a doctor and a gangster in the slums of Bombay. He will star opposite Charlie ‘Pacific Rim’ Hunnam and the Sudanese-born English actor Alexander Siddig.
While Saraf’s role in “Shantaram” is under wraps, he told Variety that shooting was an “intense life-altering experience.” The series was entirely shot during the pandemic in Thailand and Australia, where Saraf spent six months after spending two weeks in quarantine in each country. “Though set in India, it was impossible to shoot there because of the pandemic and Thailand stood in for the country’s exteriors while the studio interiors were filmed in Melbourne,” he told the entertainment portal. “I got to see Bangkok in a prime COVID curfew state — it’s a Bangkok that no one hopefully will never see again, but it was a very singular experience.”
Saraf has studied at the U.K.’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama and France’s École Philippe Gaulier.
Earlier this year, the young actor won accolades in London’s theatre circuit playing Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse, in “The Father and the Assassin.” His London-based theater credits include Benvolio in the National Theatre production of “Romeo and Juliet” in 2021, Ophelia in the cross-cast “Hamlet” at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2018 and Nikolay Tuzenbach in Rebecca Frecknall’s “Three Sisters” at the Almeida Theatre in 2019.
He played an aristocrat in newly independent India in Mira Nair’s BBC/Netflix series “A Suitable Boy.” He was also a policeman in Netflix procedural “Criminal: U.K.” and a PR advisor in Jed Mercurio’s BBC series “Bodyguard.”
Additionally, he has forayed into Bollywood. He recently finished shooting for “Blind,” a remake of the eponymous 2011 Korean action thriller, starring Sonam Kapoor. Currently, he is workshopping for an independent film and in discussions to put on some Samuel Beckett stage plays. He has numerous friends who are writers and creators and is collaborating with them on several projects, including TV shows and theater.