Munshi Premchand(1880-1936), born as Dhanpat Rai Shrivastav, was one of the foremost Hindi writers of the early twentieth century. He has to his credit more than three hundred short stories, fourteen novels, many more essays, letters translations and plays and even a film script.
His short story Shatranj ke Khiladi was made into an award winning film by Satyajit Ray as were a number of his other works by noted directors, like Hrishikesh Mukherjee.
With his reformatory zeal and an ability to create empathetic overtones, Premchand was a prominent writer in Hindi who was appreciated more after his death than before. Writes David Rubin, late translator and scholar, in The World of Premchand(Oxford, 2001): “To Premchand belongs the distinction of creating the genre of the serious short story—and the serious novel as well—in both Hindi and Urdu. Virtually single-handed he lifted fiction in these languages from a quagmire of aimless romantic chronicles to a high level of realistic narrative comparable to European fiction of the time; and in both languages, he has, in addition, remained an unsurpassed master.” Interestingly, Rubin taught for a number of years in Allahabad and Rajasthan Universities in India and is also known to have translated not only Premchand but also another very well-known Hindi poet, Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’.
Co-director of Peepli (Live), Mahmood Farooqui, has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a US-based woman around three months ago.
The woman, a 30-year-old research scholar of Indian origin, approached the Delhi Police along with a senior official of the US Embassy on Friday to file an FIR. Farooqui was called in for questioning on Saturday, and was subsequently arrested and produced in court, which sent him to 14 days judicial custody.
The woman has recorded her statement under Section 164 CrPC before a magistrate.
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.
What a beautiful question to start. I write to put things on paper so it doesn’t just get trapped in my mind. I write to understand myself, to help me make sense of my hopes, my fears and my dreams for the world.
Tell us about your most recent film or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?
That would be the Screenplay for Faeryville, an independent film which I also directed and produced. It’s common knowledge now that I took 8 years to complete the film, but a lot of people didn’t know that I took 14 rewrites for the Faeryville Screenplay.
I was looking at the world and wondering what had happened to us. Post 9-11, post-columbine, with bombings and shootings, extremism, charismatic influencers and self-styled martyrdom, idealism and ideology have suddenly become dangerous things. I realize how in this day and age, nothing seems to be right or wrong anymore, just how you choose to intellectualise it.
I wondered what it’s like growing up as a teenager, where it is no longer safe to fight for what you believe in, or take a stand on anything.
These are questions. Not answers.
I wrote and rewrote the Screenplay of Faeryville, draft after draft, to find answers for myself.
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.
The jury is still out there over the ultimate philosophy propagated by director Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespeare-inspired film Haider. While the argument continues, here’s a look at Bollywood’s ever lasting love affair with literary classics. Bhardwaj himself brought to celluloid two other Shakespeare masterpieces: Maqbool and Omkara. While the former was based on Macbeth, the latter found its cue in Othello.