Maritzburg Sun (South Africa)

PMB producer’s new series hits Netflix

- Shorné Bennie

Homegrown director and producer Shahir Chundra (42) names his upcoming Netflix debut as the highlight of his career behind the camera so far.

Chundra is the showrunner for Young, Famous & African, a reality show about eight Pan-African superstar friends and the incredible world they live in. The series is set to premiere on Netflix on March 18.

Chundra said the star-studded cast consists of celebritie­s, actors and DJs from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Tanzania. The idea behind the series is based on the glamorous lives of celebritie­s.

“Essentiall­y, the show is about a group of star-studded Pan-African superstars living the African dream. We follow their relationsh­ips, their loves, their hates and the saucy, spicy dynamics of their friend group.

“It’s Friends, if Joey, Chandler and the rest of the gang were African superstars,” said Chundra.

What Chundra loves the most about his work is a group of people coming together to create something. He said it was a pleasure working with the cast and crew.

“My job is essentiall­y to guide these incredible creatives to be their best selves and create something special that an audience can relate to. When it works, it is a beautiful thing. I worked with an incredible team, many of whom I have worked with before on many of my previous shows, and those that I grew up in the industry with. It was an absolute pleasure working with this very profession­al cast who gave us unpreceden­ted access to their lives,” said Chundra.

Chundra has been working in the film and entertainm­ent industry for the last 21 years, with numerous stellar titles during his tenure. Some of the shows he has directed and produced include Survivor SA, Masterchef SA, Power Couple SA, My Kitchen Rules and The Bachelor SA. He was hired by Urban Brew Studios for Netflix as the showrunner of Young, Famous & African.

The director/producer, who initially wanted to pursue a career in medicine, said his plans were affected by his health when he was a teen.

“When I discovered I had a rare tissue cancer at 16, it threw my world upside down and affected my plans in matric. One of the other subjects that I enjoyed was dramatic arts; so when the grades I wanted for medicine did not materialis­e, I pursued drama, which eventually led me to learn the craft behind the camera. In the end, the world led me where I would have ultimately ended up regardless, I think,” said Chundra.

Chundra attended Woodlands Secondary School and Maritzburg College. He returned to Woodlands Secondary School for matric, after falling ill in Grade 11.

Chundra is thankful for the support of his amazing crew, cast and family, especially as they worked through the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and the July unrest.

“Making this show was particular­ly hard. If it were not for an incredible young crew and cast, who managed to sidestep every problem, we could not have finished this project. I am very thankful to everyone, especially my family and my girlfriend, MJ, who kept me grounded when I was quietly almost losing my mind trying to keep things together,” said Chundra.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic Young Famous & African was filmed in

South Africa, and features the best of Johannesbu­rg, the Blue Train and the

Palace of the Lost City, to name a few.

The global release of

Young Famous & African will be on March 18 on Netflix. Viewers can indulge in the lives of

Khanyi Mbau, Naked Dj, Andile Mncube, Nadia Nakai, Annie Macualay Idibia, 2Face Idibia, Swanky Jerry, Diamond Platnumz and Kayleigh Swarck.

 ?? ?? Shahir Chundra’s series Young,
Famous & African will hit Netflix on March 18.
Shahir Chundra’s series Young, Famous & African will hit Netflix on March 18.
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