Sunday, February 12, 2012

From Book to Bollywood

Everyone has their list of things to do before they kick the bucket and I'm no exception. If anything, my list of things to do which at that time seemed unachievable started early when as a precocious (well, my mother may have had other adjectives to describe me!) ten year old, I'd proclaim my ambition to be a writer. As things turned out, the writer part did come true, but there was another item on my list which I've had for some time now. That was the desire to have one of my books made into a movie. I guess that's a secret wish for most writers because one of the biggest motivators for a writer is reaching people with one's ideas, and in today's popular culture, nothing touches people with the kind of reach and impact that movies do. Of course, going from a book to movie is such a seemingly impossible dream that few writers (including myself) would verbalize that wish, for fear of it seeming outlandish.

Well, not quite so outlandish any more, I guess. Some of my close friends and family have known for some time that something's been afoot, and now that it's all done and sealed and finally feels real (can't get more real than a contract and a cheque, I guess), thought I'd share with the broader world.

One of my novels, Herogiri, is headed to Bollywood.

A production house has bought the feature film rights to Herogiri. The process itself was fairly nail-biting, with the initial excitement ("Are you kidding? They want to make a movie out of my book?) giving way to months of protracted negotiations ("Do I really care about Clause 1.23 as long as they make a movie and pay me?") where thankfully, I was in good hands with my publishers,
Random House, and their lawyers ensuring I got the best possible deal.

The end result is something I'm really excited about at several levels. Of course, the no-brainer is the excitement of seeing my book come to life on the big screen. The production house has paid for outright movie rights, not an option, so it's very likely they will make a movie soon enough, which means I may not have to wait several years to see Arnab Bannerjee's exploits make the leap from my head to paper and now to screen. Finally, am excited that the rights have been bought by Anil Kapoor Film Productions. Mr. Kapoor, of course is a childhood icon for many of us, and it is fitting that he gets the rights for Herogiri, a superhero tale set in modern India, since he was the star of the first real Indian superhero blockbuster in Mr. India.

Of course, I have my wish-list for who I think would be just perfect for the roles of Arnab, Mishti, Jayantada and the other characters I breathed life into starting with some scribbles on the back of a boarding pass on a flight to Sydney some three years ago. And of course, I'm sure Mr. Kapoor and his executives will figure all that out without my gratuitous advice. But, Mr. Kapoor, if you're reading this, do a long-standing fan a favour and star as Khan Chacha- that would truly be the icing on the cake!