Film coming out first rare in India, not West: 'Made in China' author

New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) Parinda Joshi's book was adapted for the Rajkumar Rao-starrer 'Made in China' much before its launch and the author says though a movie coming out first is far from standard in India, it is not as rare in the West.

There are a few producers in Hollywood who have had considerable success with book-to-movie deals based on unpublished and partial manuscripts, she says.

'So much gets changed during the adaptation process and when the producer puts time into developing your work it can make it finer in the early stages. It is also more lucrative for the author since the producers are directly buying the rights from the author,' the US-based Joshi told PTI.

She wrote 'Made In China' way back in 2015. It was published by HarperCollins India last November, a month after the film’s release.

'Since it was a dark comedy about an edgy topic, many publishers were of the opinion that the majority of readers may not have an appetite for it. It may have been ahead of its time. Conversations revolving around the book's subject weren't commonplace in the Indian society a few years back,' Joshi says.

But things are different now, she says, adding the onset of streaming platforms markedly widened the choices that were available to audiences and pushed the envelope on experimental content.

Joshi was introduced to a director in her hometown in Ahmedabad a few years ago who was looking for some unique stories.

She narrated the story of her novel and he showed interested.

'He and his team of writers then spent a few years adapting my book into a screenplay, adding popular Bollywood context and later, pitching it to producers. The book then got picked up for a screen adaptation. Then came the stellar star cast. It also brought along a publishing deal,' says Joshi.

Her book is about Raghu Mehta, who is a desperate man whose handicraft imports business has unexpectedly collapsed and cash is drying out quickly. His wife thinks he is a loser and society considers him irrelevant.

His closest friends and family all seem to be running flourishing businesses and living luxurious lives in Surat, the diamond capital of India.

A trip to China to scout for a new consumer goods business offers a glimmer of hope. But Raghu instead gets sucked into the black-market trade in the back alleys of Beijing. Everything about this new opportunity goes against his god-fearing, vegetarian, middle-class mindset.

Since none of her previous books - 'Live From London' and 'Powerplay' - were turned into movies, she hadn't imagined who could play the characters when she first wrote 'Made in China'.

Joshi says her protagonist Raghu is slightly older than the movie's protagonist - he's a tad daft but ambitious, a go-getter, and has good intentions, although his choices may not always reflect that.

'When I first heard about Rajkummar Rao being cast for the movie, I thought perhaps he was a bit young. But he brought out the struggles of the protagonist wonderfully. The way he showcased Raghu's angst, his dilemma, his insecurities, his failures and his triumphs were exceptional and beyond smooth,' she says.

'Same for Boman Irani and Sumit Vyas. Those are the key characters in my book. And now I can't possibly imagine anyone else doing those roles,' she adds.

Joshi wrote the book for the first time over the course of a year and a half. Then she rewrote a lot of it in the past year.

'It's natural for a person to evolve with time; I too have evolved in the years that have passed and the novel had to reflect that. The characters, their motivations and actions, the narrative and the language; all of it changed somewhat when I rewrote parts of it. So end to end, it took a little over two years,' she says.

According to Joshi, additional characters and subplots were added to the movie.

'The movie is a drama with a dollop of humour, whereas my book is more an internal and entrepreneurial journey and has a comical bent. Dialogues are another thing that are notably different in the movie as compared to the book,' she says.

She also says that having the movie precede the book did help in adding onto the buzz, which was then a ready context to plug the book into.

'The movie with its star cast and the hype amplified the book related publicity efforts and helped me reach a wider audience,' she says. PTI ZMN RB RB