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The Henna Artist Netflix - What We Know So Far

With "Bridgerton," Netflix adapted Julia Quinn's novels on the dramatic lives of high society set within Regency-era London and got itself a hit series as a result. So maybe with their latest acquisition of a novel from author Alka Joshi the streaming service is hoping to create another successful show, this time dealing with the scandalous lives of the wealthy and influential in 1950s India. This is the basic premise of Joshi's debut novel "The Henna Artist," which released in 2020 and quickly earned a few notable achievements and praise. 

Actress Reese Witherspoon included the novel as part of her monthly book club, and it also wound up as a New York Times Bestseller. Miramax TV thought "The Henna Artist" had the makings of a fantastic television series, as the company initially bought the rights for an adaptation to Joshi's novel months after Harper Collins published it (via Deadline). And now that Netflix is officially involved, we're that much closer to seeing another novel adaptation turned into a possible must-watch series.

Here's everything we know so far about the upcoming Netflix series "The Henna Artist."

When is the release date for The Henna Artist?

There is no official release date listed yet for "The Henna Artist," and there hasn't been an official word on when production is expected to take place. However, we could likely expect the series to start production and shooting sometime in 2022. 

According to Variety, writer and producer Sri Rao, whose work includes the Indian romantic comedy "Baar Baar Dekho," is developing "The Henna Artist" and is currently finishing work on another planned Netflix series called "Finding Anamika." Rao's current project should complete production in early 2022. So if work begins on "The Henna Artist" shortly after Rao's current project, the earliest we could except the "The Henna Artist' to debut is early 2023.

While that might seem like a long wait, curious viewers could ready themselves by diving into the source material for "The Henna Artist." In fact, the novel the TV series is based on has already produced a sequel. Titled "The Secret Keeper of Jaipur," the sequel novel is the second in a planned trilogy for the "The Henna Artist" book series (via Harper Collins).

Who is in the cast of The Henna Artist?

So far, Netflix hasn't revealed too much about the cast of "The Henna Artist." With several intriguing main characters in the novels, it's likely that more of the cast will be added and eventually revealed as the series officially begins shooting. However, "The Henna Artist" already has its lead. According to Deadline, Freida Pinto is set to star as the novel's main character, Lakshmi. Fans may remember Pinto from her breakout role of Latika from Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire," as well as notable roles in "Immortals" and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

Pinto may have been attached to "The Henna Artist" series before Netflix officially picked it up (via Deadline), but she's also worked on a previous project that proved to be worthwhile for Netflix. In 2019, she starred in "Only," an underrated sci-fi drama that briefly took over Netflix. The post-apocalyptic film that stars Pinto as the last surviving woman on Earth quickly climbed the streaming service's top movies chart. Besides starring in "The Henna Artist," Pinto is also an executive producer on the series alongside Michael Edelstein and Rao.

What is the plot of The Henna Artist?

Per the official synopsis from Harper Collins, "The Henna Artist" novel focuses on a woman named Lakshmi, who during the 1950s runs away from her family and village for the bustling pink city of Jaipur, India, where she works as a henna artist. Lakshmi's clients are women near the top of the social chain who divulge their personal secrets to the artist. But while Lakshmi starts to build her independent status among high society, her past simply won't let her escape and comes into dramatic conflict with her newly built life.

Adaptations often have differences from the source material, and we'll ultimately have to wait and see just how Rao's scripts will differ from the original novel. Overall, the main plot points of "The Henna Artist" novel have the soap opera chops to make for some binge-worthy TV, so it's likely that the show won't differ significantly from the novel. We also don't know if the series will cover the entire novel or split the story into multiple seasons, and depending on how well "The Henna Artist" does, we could see an adaptation of Joshi's sequel novel as well.