Author Pankaj Dubey: I want to make a blockbuster film on my book set in DU
Author-script writer Pankaj Dubey, who recently joined Britain’s Labour Party, talks about his Delhi-days, which inspired his first novel — What A Loser! — which he’s adapting into a film now.books Updated: May 12, 2017 16:34 IST
Delhi University (DU) alumnus, bilingual author Pankaj Dubey, recently made news when he joined the Labour Party of England. Apart from his political aspirations, the writer is planning to make a film on his first novel, What A Loser! The book is based in DU — a place close to his heart.
When SRK came up with the film Swades (2004); I also thought of coming back. I thought mai bhi yahan bulb jalaunga...
“I pursued my graduation from Satyawati College (Evening) and then moved to Campus Law Centre [2002 batch]. I was a debater and was even selected in Australasian and World Debating as Jury adjudicator [The World Universities Debating Championship], to represent India,” says the Ranchi-born, who also took up a film studies course in Jamia Millia Islamia before moving to England to study applied communication and later took a job with The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). “It was at that time when SRK had come up with the film Swades (2004) and I also thought of coming back. I thought mai bhi yahan bulb jalaunga,” jokes the 38-year-old, who then headed to India to curate India’s first street film festival for children in slums and villages – Sadak Chhaap Film Festival.
My novel is set in Delhi University, where the protagonist comes from Bihar yet is without that typical accent and wants to get rid of things he doesn’t like back home. My ideal choice for the male lead will be Ayushmann Khurrana because of his performance in Dum Laga Ke Haisha.
Dubey is now close to adapting the story of his first book, What A Loser! (2013) into a film. “I plan to make a Bollywood blockbuster,” says the writer. “My film has to have known actors. I don’t want to get into the independent cinema space. When I wrote my first two books, my writings were read by everyone. That made me a bestselling author and gave me the confidence to make a film. Now, when I make my film, I want it to be seen by everyone. That’s possible only if it’s backed by a studio and a known cast. My novel is set in Delhi University, where the protagonist comes from Bihar yet is without that typical accent and wants to get rid of things he doesn’t like back home. My ideal choice for the male lead will be Ayushmann Khurrana because of his performance in Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015). For the female lead, Taapsee Pannu fits the bill of my heroine Bindiya Babbar from law faculty,” adds Dubey who has been a script supervisor in Ghanchakkar (2013) and Chauranga (2014).
Is the novel/film based on his life? “There’s nothing called fiction! If we are scared of people we change their names. My entire life isn’t interesting, so I pick up interesting parts from my life and others’ lives, to create a character that’s interesting,” says the author who will be releasing his third work this year.
My grandfather was an officer in the imperial police. Before independence, he used to salute the Union Jack and was never happy about Indian freedom movement because he thought India wasn’t prepared for democracy. He thought he was a Britisher and talked in an accent.
“My third book is about Indian diaspora and is set in London. It’s about the conflict of identities of Indian and Asian diaspora so my characters are from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It syncs well with my joining the Labour Party because I’ll be working in the area or cause of Indian diaspora. I was happy that they accepted me among all the Commonwealth countries. And you don’t even require much money to contest elections in England unlike in India,” says Dubey, whose father was a professor of English literature. But his English connect goes further back. “My grandfather was an officer in the imperial police. Before Independence, he used to salute the Union Jack and was never happy about Indian freedom movement because he thought India wasn’t prepared for democracy. He thought he was a Britisher and talked in an accent,” Dubey laughs.
I plan to contest for the House of Commons in 2027.
“Basically I’m a storyteller whose stories are woven with the flavour of politics and social elements of the contemporary times. All my books are a satire on things that you find around yourself. That’s why it was an organic evolution for me to take up films and politics,” says Dubey adding, “I plan to contest for the House of Commons in 2027. Meanwhile I’ll make films and write more books!”
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