By Mitali Chakravarty

Three Idiots, The Reluctant Fundamentalist and  Crazy Rich Asians have made history in cinema and they started out as mere books, Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat, The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Ahmad and Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.

Bhagat was cited by The New York Times as “the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history” and was also included in the Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Ahmad’s book made it big not just in its own rights, climbing up to #4 on the The New York Times Bestseller list and winning multiple awards and accolades, the film catapulted his book as one that addressed humanitarian concerns and won the German film award for peace and at least five more international awards. Kwan also made it to the Times list of the hundred most influential people and was named as “five writers to watch” on the ‘Hollywood’s Most Powerful Authors’ in The Hollywood Reporter. Their cinematic launches helped them make it huge!

But did you ever wonder how their books made it to the big screen? How did they sell their film rights? And as an author, what all should you be looking out for when you sell your book’s film rights?

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Siddharth Jain

Today, we meet the man who can help authors evade controversies and make it from books to movies… He is the man who has made it a business to help writers sell their books to film-makers. Meet Siddharth Jain, the founder of The Story Ink (TSI), India’s first story company for premium content for screen. It is also “India’s No.1 Book to Screen Adaptation Company” and has sold the adaptation rights of almost 70 books to Producers/Studios in India. It is now expanding its footprint by solving the story problem for Indian regional language content producers and international producers, who are searching for local stories for global audiences.

TSI was founded in April 2018 by Jain who had earlier worked for India’s largest OTT (over the top) — Hotstar.com (now acquired by Disney from Fox), iRock Films, Adlabs Films (Reliance Entertainment), Hyperion Studio — Los Angeles and Baazee.com (Ebay India). In a recent  interview with scroll.in , Jain said that five years from now he sees himself “reading a book a day” and curating great stories for films.  In this exclusive interview, he explains how books are made into films… through options agreements.

 

Kitaab: What do you mean by an options agreement?

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kevin_kwanProudhon said, “Property is theft”; Balzac said, “Behind great fortunes without apparent cause lies a crime forgotten.”

Well, if great wealth is a great crime, Kevin Kwan’s “China Rich Girlfriend,” a sequel to his 2013 “Crazy Rich Asians,” slots neatly into the grand tradition of true-crime narratives — those lurid paper­backs that aim to repulse and to fascinate, all in order to keep you turning the page.

kevinKevin Kwan’s brand of giddy wealth porn arrived in 2013 with “Crazy Rich Asians,” not a moment too soon to rescue a worn-out and useless genre. The vulgar rich had taken over reality TV, fictionalized TV (which seemed tepid by comparison), the occasional freakish documentary (like “The Queen of Versailles”) and the kind of fiction that heard its sell-by knell when “Bergdorf Blondes” and all its copycats came along. There was nothing new to be said about crass New Yorkers, Texans, Hollywood types or even tech billionaires, whose excesses weren’t usually that showy. A whole money-wasting continent had been milked dry.

Superficial but fun, this satire describes life for Chinese old money and nouveaux: The Independent

CrazyRichAsiansAt the heart of the novel are Nick and Rachel, a couple of university professors living in New York. Nick comes from a vastly affluent family, but Rachel is unaware of this. Their relationship has become serious, and Nick invites Rachel to accompany him to Singapore for the wedding of a friend at which Nick is to be Best Man. Nick wants Rachel to finally meet his family.

CrazyRichAsiansNothing succeeds like success. While this year, three Asian writers published three well-publicised novels on the Asia’s new rich (Tash Aw’s Five Star Billionaire, Mohsin Hamid’s How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, and Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians), one has been picked by Hollywood.

Hollywood has picked up the film rights to “Crazy Rich Asians,”  author Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel about three prominent Chinese families preparing for a lavish wedding in Singapore.

Color Force, the production company behind last year’s hit “The Hunger Games,” acquired the rights for an undisclosed amount. The film will be produced outside of the studio system, it said in a statement.

A book with a title as brash as Crazy Rich Asians is just asking to be picked up and read. The ascent of Asian money is all too real, yet at the same time, one can’t help but ask where such money came from – and who these people are. And thanks to Kevin Kwan’s debut novel, we can enter into this world of intrigue.

The story centres around girlfriend and boyfriend Rachel Chu and Nick Young, the latter heir to one of the largest billionaire fortunes in Singapore. The two have been living in rather isolated bliss in New York; Rachel, an American-born Chinese (ABC), knows nothing about Nick’s powerful family and the futureexpectations of him—until he brings her home for the society wedding of the year at which Nick is best man.