Indian American author gets ready for cinema
Talks are on to turn author Abha Dawesar's tongue-in-cheek literary debut "Three Of Us", published by Penguin, into an English movie set in India.
"I have been approached by a Telugu film director," says the New York-based Dawesar. "But I think the real challenge will be to translate the story into an Indian context. If there is anything about that story it is that it is a New York story."
Her urban ménage a trois about homosexuality had tickled the Indian readers when it was published here two years ago.
Dawesar's second book is Babyji (Random House), a story set in India during the Mandal commission, which releases in February.
"This will blow the mind of all those who think of Indian women as Sati-Savitris," Dawesar said in an e-mailed interview.
"My next novel after that is set in Paris and New York and is about a celebrated Indian novelist who is trying to face his old age and inevitable end. He reflects on his muses and his literature and the connection between them even as he struggles to ask himself if 'living' is literature or life.
"The four main characters are all writers but each has a different relationship to his or her writing and indeed a different way of life that one can see reflected in this relationship," she says.
Right now Dawesar is reading philosophers who have influenced Western civilisation, in particular Plato and his Socratic dialogues and twentieth century writers who have written about them ranging from Leo Strauss to Ananda Coomaraswamy.
"I believe that what the ancients said remains relevant today and my dream project would be to somehow bring this out in a work of fiction. I'm noticing that when I read very varied things (this week's reading has included Plato's "Phaedrus", Freud on the "Ego and the Id", and Elfriede Jelinek's novel "Women as lovers") my brain nonetheless sees connections, parallels, legacies, and a movement of ideas through all the pieces.
"This makes me think that the evolution of ideas (including ideologies and politics) are almost as tightly linked as natural phenomena," she says.
Dawesar is not the only author to tread the celluloid path.
Chetan Bhagat's "Five-Point Someone - What Not To Do At IIT" (Rupa), trendily titled "FPS", is all set for release this year. The cinematic version of Vikas Swarup's "Q And A" along with a musical are already under way.
Author Shonali Bose's "Amu" (Penguin) is a celluloid translation much in news these days and Sabrina Dhawan was still a student in the US when her story was picked up by Mira Nair for "The Monsoon Wedding."
And now that Upamanyu Chatterji has won the Sahitya Akademi award for his "Mammaries of A Welfare State", this book may follow the same Bollywood path traversed by its predecessor "English, August", which was made into a film by Dev Benegal.