Meet the man who is turning your favourite books into movies
Of late, the world of books-to-film agenting has seen a solid push. One of the companies leading this movement is The Story Ink, India’s first story company, as its founder Sidharth Jain calls it.Updated: Oct 06, 2019 18:07 IST
Screen adaptations of books have always turned out to be a goldmine, whether it is The Godfather by Mario Puzo (Movie: 1972), The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (Movie: 1991) or No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (Movie: 2007). Closer home, in Bollywood, filmmakers have also struck the jackpot, whether it was Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Devdas (Movie: 1955, 2002), Erich Segal’s Man, Woman and Child (Movie: Masoom, 1981) or Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone (Movie: 3 idiots). The most recent and impactful one has been Vikram Chandra’s Sacred Games (Season 1: 2018) which screened on Netflix followed by Season 2 this year.
But of late, the world of books-to-film agenting has seen a solid push. One of the companies leading this movement is The Story Ink, India’s first story company, as its founder Sidharth Jain calls it.
Previously, Jain had founded iRock Films, a content development and a film production company, after which he had a two-year stint heading original content, licensing and acquisitions at Hotstar. Then in 2018 Jain started The Story Ink.
The company will be responsible for a lot of literary adaptations, from novels, non-fiction books, horror stories and more. Comic books are also being adapted into movies and Jain has picked some characters from Diamond Comics recently, which shall be developed as a web series.
In a recent interview, Jain tells us how books are turned into scripts, why there is an increasing demand for the same and more.
How does The Story Ink function? How many people, including you, read and then decide on which books to turn into scripts?
TSI is driven by the goal - to find compelling stories for the screen. Once we find those stories, we connect them with the right producers, filmmakers and also suggest the right narrative format - episodic or film. I have one creative producer, the two of us read stories that we find compelling. Instinct is the key skill that I use to connect dots.
You also seemed to have bagged the rights for the Sunanda Pushkar book to screen adaptation?
We represent the adaptation rights. The rights will soon be sold to a production house. We have a lot of interest in that book and are evaluating all the proposals.
Is it true that you get tons of enquiries from producers asking for books/stories that could work for Amitabh Bachchan in the lead role?
Amitabh Bachchan and lots of other actors too. Producers who have access to certain stars want to find books that might be liked by them. Basically, it reduces the development time for a script. These days, everyone is in a hurry.
You mentioned in one of your FB posts: “I never thought I would see this day, but I have a long-list of producers looking for books to adapt for screen.”
What changed and why?
The primary driver for this change are the OTT (over-the-top media services) companies like Amazon and Netflix. They are pushing the envelope for more content, better content and story-driven developments. That’s pushing the film and TV business to improve their content. The audience is being picky. It’s all added up to push producers to look for better stories.
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