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'Great films are from simple texts'

Never judge a book by its movie, said JW Eagan. The big-league writers and theatre directors in a session on 'Adaptations' at JLF seemed to share the sentiment. Praneta Jha reports.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2013 22:10 IST
Praneta Jha

"Movies are more important to people than humble little books," said Zoe Heller, whose novel Notes on a Scandal was turned into a successful film.

Authors Sebastian Faulks, Vikas Swarup and Heller were ambivalent regarding adaptation of their works for the big screen.

"But the film brought me a whole new readership," said Heller, who "winced" when she first read the screenplay. Writer Ariel Dorfman and theatre director Tim Supple had a more celebratory view of adaptations - since they've extensively adapted works from one medium to another.

"One can turn anything into anything," said Dorfman, whose 'Death and The Maiden' was made into a movie by Roman Polanski.

"The more complex the original text, the harder it is to adapt," Supple said. "Great film adaptations often come from simple texts."

But everyone agreed that changes were necessary when a text was being adapted to another medium, since the demands of every medium are different.

Vikas Swarup, whose Q&A was turned into Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, said, "When a work is being adapted, the makers should have the right to bring changes."

Faulks, who was not part of his book, Charlotte Gray, being adapted into film. Unhappy with the results, he "decided not to sell the rights of my work, unless I'm involved in some way."