Meanwhile, on the little sub-continent we call India:
Hindi TV serials are turning to literary inspirations — best-selling books — in a bid to come up with fresh storylines.
In their eternal quest for a storyline that can keep fickle audiences hooked and those TRP figures high, those in the television industry have turned to (what has been for other mediums) a tried and tested source: Best-selling books.
The recently launched show Dilli Waali Thakur Girls is the latest example of a TV show that has drawn on literary inspiration — in this case, Anuja Chauhan’s novel Those Pricey Thakur Girls. On another channel, Yeh Hai Mohabbatein has drawn its central theme from Manju Kapur’s book, Custody. And in the not-so-distant past, there was Saraswatichandra, based (loosely) on the Gujarati classic by G.M. Tripathi.
So what’s prompting TV to look the literary way — and what’s prompting writers to allow small screen adaptations of their bookish works?
Anuja Chauhan, the author of Those Pricey Thakur Girls which has been reincarnated as Dilli Wali Thakur Girls, tells us, “The basic truth is that we (writer/authors) are a severely underpaid and powerless lot, as sad as it is to hear. So any writing, any opportunity is good.”
“Honestly, if more people went and bought the books, authors might not be so open (to TV adaptations), but as long as the story is reaching an audience and as long as the producers stay true to the characters, I don’t have qualms with them experimenting with it.”
Anuja admits that she herself was initially hesitant if her story would suit the contemporary TV scene. “The story is set in the late 1980s and I asked them (the show makers) if they thought it would be relevant. The team said they loved the characters and thought they would appeal to the audience,” she shares. However, Anuja is not involved in the process of scripting the TV show. “I do not have much involvement in the whole process. What I think appeals to them is the fact that while adapting a novel, they can have some direction to the story,” she says.