Ensure book’s soul not lost in moviemaking: Writers

March 15th, 2012 - 9:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Chetan Bhagat Mumbai, March 15 (IANS) To say a book is always better than a movie made out of it is a cliche but writers love this, author Amish Tripathi contended at the 13th edition of the three-day FICCI-FRAMES global convention.

“Although a cliche, we as writers love it. At the same time when people ask me if a movie should be made exactly like a book, I would say absolutely not,” he said Thursday at a panel discussion on “The journey from books to successful screenplays: The writers’ take”.

Tripathi said that the two books he has written so far are both around 400 pages.

“One page of a book roughly translates to a minute in a movie if made ‘exactly’ as the book says. Now, it is a violation of human rights if a person has to watch a movie which is 400 minutes long,” he said in a lighter vein.

The panel also consisting of author Chetan Bhagat, screenwriters Sooni Taraporewala and Shibani Bhathija and filmmaker Sudhir Mishra who unanimously opined that there are practical constraints that a filmmaker will face while adapting a book.

Also posing a question at the discussion was Bhagat who asked as to why writers don’t get the same visibility as stars or filmmakers.

“One of the probable reasons might be that authors are not as charismatic as stars,” said Bhagat whose novel “Five Point Someone” was adapted into a super hit film “3 Idiots”.

“Also, the power equation is a factor. In some cases, the filmmakers take credit for the success of the film and the author’s name is buried in opening and closing credits,” he added.

There are some practical difficulties that a director faces while adapting literary work.

“I remember reading that the visually delightful science fiction film ‘Avatar’ script was written 12 years before it was made into a movie. It was released so late as the technology required to make it was not available back then,” said Tripathi.

Taraporewala said: “All difficulties aside, a book is always a win win.”

“If a film adaptation succeeds, people praise the book and the author. If it doesn’t, they say they did not do justice to the book. So, authors will never have to worry,” she added.

Mishra, however, put it in an easier way saying, “Literature is a private medium where one sits and writes alone. As for films, it is a social medium involving interacting with people.

“Also, sometimes when people have nothing to say, they make movie adaptations of a book. We just have to ensure that the soul of the book is maintained while a movie is made,” he added.

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