No longer do stories that inspire movies get reeled in by their cinematic adaptations. Instead, moviemakers are happy to give authors their due (while also publicising their movies, of course). The latest addition is Ruskin Bond's Susanna's Seven Husbands, which can now be read (as against seen) along with the screenplay of the Priyanka Chopra-starrer 7 Khoon Maaf by Vishal Bhardwaj and Matthew Robbins (Penguin, R250).
The original short story about a woman who has the nasty habit of falling in love with the wrong men, the new novella and screenplay are tightly packed in this volume. Susanna Anna Marie-Yates, the "much-married person with a quaint habit of disposing of her husbands whenever she tired of them" is compared with the "Black Widow spider
" by a young admirer Arun, a forensic expert in the movie. Bhardwaj was offered four alternative endings by Bond. Even if the screenplay is repetitive, Bhardwaj and Bond remain astute and compelling storytellers.