When Robin Sharma, the best-selling author of motivational book,
The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari
, was first approached to turn his work into a play, he was alarmed. “He did some background checks on us, then got in touch with Paulo Coelho, whose
we had turned into a musical. Only then did he give us his approval,” says director-producer Ashvin Gidwani.
Gidwani, who has been in theatre for over 18 years, is turning director with this particular project, because “the treatment of the subject requires a different craft and nobody can match the passion I have for this project at the moment.”
The play, expected to make its worldwide debut in Mumbai in August, will have Sharma in attendance. “He was keen to be present for the first show, so we’ve been coordinating dates,” adds Gidwani.
While Sharma is not involved in the script-writing process, he does have a say in the final draft. “We have got a number of writers involved. Once we’ve settled on a draft, it will be sent to him for approval,” reveals Gidwani.
The play is expected to involve elements of song, something like a musical. The cast hasn’t been chosen yet, though Gidwani already has a few people in mind. “I need excellent actors because of the expectations associated with a world-famous work like this,” he says. “The good thing is that we don’t need a celebrity face. But the people we choose will need to have a strong theatre background. We wont be taking chances on someone completely new.”
He also has another ace up his sleeve, as he has secured the rights to adapt Suketu Mehta’s magnum opus Maximum City for the stage as well. “But that will only happen next year,” says he. “And given the subject matter, we might have a London debut instead of India.”