Category Archives: adaptation

Why should you watch A Suitable Boy?

There were three great post-Independence Indian novels that were considered worthy of screen adaptation ever since they appeared on the scene: Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy and Vikram Chandra’s Sacred Games.

While Rushdie’s and Chandra’s works eventually saw the light of the day on screen, Seth’s 1993 novel, A Suitable Boy, had to wait for the deft hands of director Mira Nair to bring it to life on screen.

Nair has adapted Seth’s doorstopper of a novel, which has the reputation of being one the longest English language novels into a six-part series for the BBC. That’s a feat in itself. Secondly, it is the first time the BBC has had a historical drama cast entirely with people of colour.

A Suitable Boy is set in 1951, against the backdrop of a newly independent and post-partition India. At the centre of the story is 19-year-old Hindu girl, Lata, who is under pressure from her widowed mother to find an appropriate husband. A chance encounter with the Muslim boy Kabir sees Lata fall in love, but their religious differences echo the wider clashes between Hindus and Muslims in the country. When Lata’s mother learns of their affair, the relationship is forbidden. There follows a vast, intergenerational coming-of-age story, involving four families and more than 110 characters over the course of 18 months, right across India. It is a grandiose reflection of a nation coming to terms with a new identity.

The series was three years in the making, and Seth was said to have agreed to the series on condition that Andrew Davies – who has adapted everything from Pride and Prejudice to War and Peace – was at the helm. Even though the series is set almost 70 years ago, it eerily reflects the present atmosphere in India when inter-community relations have strained to their worst.

The series’ director Mira Nair told a newspaper that her goal is for viewers to find themselves enveloped in the often conflicting worlds of India, rather than consuming the show as an inconsequential period piece.

Will the series be as popular and as loved as the novel? The initial reception has been good but only time will give the final verdict.

Editor’s Pick: The Week that was…

A lot has been happening around the world. With the global pandemic locking us down in our houses, we are fighting new battles everyday. We struggle with day to day activities and wonder if all this is a nightmare which will end once we wake up only to find ourselves staring at the ceilings at night, sleepless and hopeless.

“This virus will leave us entirely newborn people. We will all be different, none of us will ever be the same again. We will have deeper roots, be made of denser soil, and our eyes will have seen things.”

C. JoyBell C
Read more

13 literary writers who have adapted other people’s books for the screen

(From Literary Hub. Link to the complete article given below)

Hollywood has long been a mysterious place where literary writers can sometimes make a little extra money—sure, there’s the nice paycheck when their own work gets optioned, but as it turns out, movies actually need writers too! And sometimes literary writers are pretty darn good at writing movies (though sometimes, as you will see, they are not). After discovering this week that Aldous Huxley had written the screenplays for early film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, I got interested in what other literary texts (besides their own) literary writers had ushered towards the big screen. Here are some of my findings.

Aldous Huxley, most famous for his literature of dystopias and drug trips, wrote the screenplays for the first film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (1940) and, with John Houseman and director Robert Stevenson, an early adaptation of Jane Eyre (1943). Not only that, but he might have been the screenwriter for Alice in Wonderland (this, of course, being quite a bit closer to the dystopia/drug trip fame). Knowing that Huxley was a massive fan of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Walt Disney contacted the writer in 1945 and commissioned a script for a combination live action and animated adaptation. He completed a draft, and the two icons worked on it together, but in the end Disney felt it was “too literary.” He was paid, and a wholly different and fully animated version (the one you know) was released in 1951.

As you probably already know, F. Scott Fitzgerald toiled away to little success (one friend compared him to “a great sculptor who is hired to do a plumbing job”) in Hollywood in the 1930s, and wound up with only a single screenwriting credit. I was tickled to learn that he had worked on a draft of the script for the adaptation of Gone With the Wind, for which, apparently, “he was forbidden to use any words that did not appear in Margaret Mitchell’s text.” His draft was rejected.

Read more at this Lit Hub link

Literature key to success of Bengali films: Saswata Chatterjee

Kahaani actor Saswata Chatterjee feels whenever Bengali films have been rooted in literature, they have churned out good stuff. In fact, he feels the key to its turnaround have been in doing literature-based films. “The golden era of Bengali cinema was not only made possible by Uttam, Soumitra, Suchitra, Supriya although they were great actors. It was also because their films were based on works of writers like Bibhutibhusan Bandyopadhyay, Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay, and Sunil Gangopadhyay,” the actor said.

“The day Bengali cinema lost touch with literature and started aping the south, the middle class audience stopped going to the cinema halls and later the larger audience too stopped going,” Saswata said.

Read More

Page to screen: Tabish Khair’s ‘How to fight Islamic terror from a missionary position’ to be made into a film

Forfatteren Tabish Khair bor i Danmark og underviser pΠAarhus Universitet

Forfatteren Tabish Khair bor i Danmark og underviser pΠAarhus Universitet

One has to be cautious when it comes to announcements of books being adapted into films. A book might get optioned for film, announcements might get made but the making of a real film rarely follows them. Mohsin Hamid was lucky in getting Mira Nair to make a film out of his novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist. So was Jhumpa Lahiri—Nair made a film version of her novel, The Namesake. But even Salman Rushdie had to wait for nearly 30 years before his most famous novel, Midnight Children, was adapted for screen. After many false starts, the film was finally made by Deepa Mehta and released in 2012. Similarly, a film is planned for Amitav’s Ghosh’s The Sea of Poppies (its screenplay is ready), and when Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger won the Booker Prize, a film was announced—apparently, Farrukh Dhondy was to write the screenplay. However, there is no news on both these films. Read more

Myanmar: Link the Wor(l)ds Literary Translation Workshop

 Translation panel session with Alfred Birnbaum, Zeyar Lynn, Lucas Stewart and Moe Thet Han

Translation panel session with Alfred Birnbaum, Zeyar Lynn, Lucas Stewart and Moe Thet Han (Image credit: Han Zaw)

It is said that there is only one novel from Myanmar translated into English.  While this isn’t strictly true (there are at least six) Nu Nu Yi’s ‘Smile as they Bow’ gained a much deserved reputation after being the first Burmese novel short listed for a major international award, the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2008.  Her translator, Alfred Birnbaum, is perhaps better known for his early translations of Haruki Murakami.  What many people probably don’t know, including myself until last week, is that Alfred has a Burmese wife, lived in Myanmar for eight years and speaks, reads and writes fluent Burmese. Read more

Disney, modern culture and Arab literature: is there any way forward?

Earlier this week, Kuwaiti writer Muneefa Abdullah filed a lawsuit against Disney Studios over copyright infringement. The filing claims that the plot of the hit film “Frozen” was based on a story in Abdullah’s book, “The Snow Princess”.

I’ll admit that I haven’t had the chance to read “The Snow Princess,” nor will I write about the legitimacy of the claim. Putting aside the details of the lawsuit, and whether or not it will be successful, this is a time where we must recognize the talents that exist in the region. Figuring out a way to properly nurture these talents and develop them into substantial blockbusters ourselves is one of many ways to put the region on the map – and in a positive light.

Read More

Bombay Velvet trailer released

The trailer of Anurag Kashyap-directed and Ranbir Kapoor starrer Hindi film Bombay Velvet, a period piece styled after Hollywood film Scarface, was released today.

The film is based on a book by Gyan Prakash, called Mumbai Fables, a fascinating cultural history of Mumbai. The book has a novelistic feel and leads readers through the tumultuous history of the global metropolis.

UK: Asian writers say it’s getting harder to get their work adapted for screen

British Asian novelists are struggling to get their work adapted for television because the lack of representation in the creative industries has “paralysed” the process.

Three rising star novelists last night discussed how the tag “British Asian” affected them as writers and in the wider creative industries, with one saying it took “10 times as long” for a book to get adapted for television.

Read more

« Older Entries