Pages to web — the new journey that stories are undertaking
Book titles are slowly becoming favourities on the OTT platforms. A number of them are adapting popular book titles, more so because the audiences are keen.Updated: Jan 24, 2019 16:37 IST
Taking cue from the success of web shows such as Sacred Games and Mowgli, which are based on Indian and international best-sellers, there are many more book adaptations that are making their way on to the digital platforms.
Selection Day based on Aravind Adiga’s book by the same name, and Parchayee, adapted from Ruskin Bond’s ghost stories, have just gone on the web. Other shows in the offing include The Final Call (based on Priya Kumar’s I Will Go With You), Leila (based on Prayag Akbar’s Leila), an untitled series on Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, and Ashwin Sanghi’s The Krishna Key.
“Books are a wonderful source of inspiration with a natural beginning, a middle and an end, with intense plots and deep characters that have already connected with people. India is home to great literary pieces that haven’t been adapted yet. It would be incredible to see these turn into visual masterpieces,” says Netflix’s spokesperson.
Manish Aggarwal, Business Head, ZEE5 India, shares that one needs to understand what viewers want. “Now, through web series, the visuals will add more appeal. To address the growing demand for innovative content, we try to provide good content made on fresh concepts,” he says.
According to Sameer Saxena, Chief Content Officer, The Viral Fever Originals, people these days do not read as often or with as much passion as they used to earlier and hence, “it’s a good idea to develop literature into web shows, making it easier for viewers to enjoy the story.”
Bollywood star Arjun Rampal, who is making his web debut with The Final Call, feels that it’s a good time “for an artiste to push limits on a medium which is less restricting”.
While the trend of adapting books for screen is not new, the demand is more now. Vijay Lalwani, director of The Final Call, reasons, “Producers and viewers are seeking good content, and there is a tendency to produce content that has already worked with audiences.”
Over the top (OTT) platforms are also creating “significant opportunity for novelists”, feels author Ashwin Sanghi, whose book will be adapted on Eros Now. He says, “At one point, the only alternative for the adaptation of novels was cinema or TV, but both these formats are limited by virtue of duration and target audience. OTT platforms remove these limitations.”
Showrunner Marston Bloom, who has also helped write the screenplay for Selection Day, says, “The audience gets to take control of their viewing — dictating when and how they consume the programme, as you do with a book — so, it’s not a surprise that so many novels are now being adapted.”
According to Udayan Prasad, director of Selection Day, makers are turning to material that already has cache, such as a successful piece of literature. “What can sometimes be frustrating about this situation is that it also makes content providers nervous about commissioning original work written specifically for the screen,” he says.
Author tweets @Shreya_MJ
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First Published: Jan 24, 2019 16:37 IST