Writers have more freedom than filmmakers, says author Sharat Kumar

May 5th, 2009 - 12:40 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) A writer has more creative freedom compared to a filmmaker who is transposing a story into the fixed format of screen, says award-winning bilingual novelist Sharat Kumar.
“The process of making a movie is expensive whereas a book offers infinite opportunity that engages the reader in a very proactive manner. It is a more comprehensive medium,” Sharat Kumar, who is also a filmmaker and scriptwriter, told IANS.

“In a novel you can take your characters anywhere. They can even ride horses, it does not cost anything. But in movies, you are restricted. You have to deal with very different circumstances because no one knows the story barring the director and the scriptwriter. One has to depend on the crew and the ambience has to be constructive enough to get the best out of them.”

The English translation of his popular Hindi novel “Lal Kothi Alvida” was released by former Himachal Pradesh chief justice Leila Seth here Monday. Published by Stellar Publishers, “Farewell, Red Mansion” was translated by Sharat Kumar himself.

“Duvidha”, a feature film by Sharat Kumar based on “Lal Kothi Alvida”, has received the Mention Spectacle du Jury at the Strasbourg International Film Festival 2009 in France.

The novel set in a town in western Uttar Pradesh spans half-a-century. It swings between the pre-Independence years (1934-42) and the last quarter of 1989, capturing two generations of the Sinha family.

“At the centre of the book are two women, Rukmini and Saroja, whose lives are 50 years apart and whose ethos are completely different,” said Sharat Kumar.

While Rukmini’s life is high on social affinities and idealism, Saroja’s life “is tortuous and full of intrigues in the late 80s”. The book was also the theme for a 82-episode serial made by Parikshat Shani that was aired on Doordarshan in 2006-2007.

Recalling his experience of making “Duvidha”, Sharat Kumar said writing the book gave him the flexibility to change the personalities of his characters to fit the genre of celluloid.

“In the movie, I focus more on Saroja because I wanted to portray current times. She comes across as a gentler person in the movie - deviating a bit from the book where she is tougher. I added stray dialogues and told the artist who dubbed Saroja’s dialogues to be more gentle and soft,” he said.

Sharat Kumar, a former management guru and naval officer, said the success of the serial prompted him to make “Duvidha”.

“I was told that at least a million people watched the serial. But the hands-on experience of these diverse mediums of expressions has been fascinating.

“When I sat down to work on the script and to visualise the book in terms of moving images, I realised that many of the descriptive parts of the novel lent themselves effectively to powerful pictorial presentation. The addition of just a few words could evoke the emotional ambience of the scenes,” he said.

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