Book to Bollywood – The Oldest Journey, the Newest Paths
Water and stories have a similarity – they take the form of the medium that they are put into. Many authors look at the ‘bada pardah’ as the end result of their concept. Here are some books that are just crying out loud to become a movie:
Inheritance of Loss: The Inheritance of Loss is set in 1986, but explores ideas that are still touchy today, the eternal conflict that Indians experience when they are juxtaposed between the Indian tradition and Western sensibilities. The book is centered on two main characters: Biju and Sai. Biju is an illegal Indian immigrant living in the United States with his father who works as a cook for Sai’s grandfather. Sai is a girl living in mountainous Kalimpong with her maternal grandfather Jemubhai and a dog, named Mutt. The way the plot of this novel switches between both points of view calls for a screenplay adaptation of it. Priyadarshan would be our pick to be at the helm of the movie.
Sacred Games: Vikram Chandra creates some of the most interesting characters in this book. A young police officer, a lass dreaming of being a film star, a widow facing life all by herself and several other peripheral characters. This crime and thriller novel entails all the ingredients to become a magnificent Hindi film. We liked what Nikhil Advani did with D-Day, and would like for him to have a hand at Sacred Games.
The Girl with the Golden Parasol: This one has Prakash Jha written all over it. With so many things to put into vision, one would need an eclectic cast, and say what, Mr. Jha already has it. The Girl with the Golden Parasol is set in Madhya Pradesh and touches on almost every issue that plagues a Free India today, globalization, communalism, moral degradation, corruption and caste based university politics. Actors like Irrfan Khan, Deepak Dobriyal, Manoj Bajpai, Huma Qureshi could fit any of the characters required in the movie.
A Fine Balance: If ever there was a skirmish of characters, it would be a Fine Balance. Written by Rohinton Mistry, it tackles one very important aspect of life today – adapting. Set in the city of Mumbai, it explores the life of four disenfranchised strangers- a widow, a young student, and two tailors who are forced by their indigent circumstances to share a confined apartment. They learn together ‘to maintain a fine balance between hope and despair’ in a society suddenly disrupted by the political upheaval. We think Kiran Rao be a good leader for this one.
Deal Maker (Rakesh Wadhwa, Leon Louw):
Written by Rakesh Wadhwa along with Leon Louw, this novel accounts the journey of a boy named Sudesh who travels from a small village to the highest political office in the country. Though it’s a fictional story yet it aptly describes the political and economic situation in India. It is a tale of a man who becomes the prime minister of the nation not because he wants to be someone but because he wants to bring about an element of change in the system. He takes it upon himself to become the dealmaker who transforms his country into becoming the golden bird, which it once was. Our choice would be either Anurag Basu or Ashutosh Gowariker to direct this magnum opus.
We can only wait and watch as to how these bestselling novels transform into blockbuster feature films and the mounting interest of filmmakers in the world of literature is truly compelling. And as Jean-Luc Godard has rightly said, “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” Hence, we as an audience can only hope that these filmmakers raise the bar of storytelling via their adaptations of books into films.
– By Roy DSilva
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