By : Utpal Borpujari
Even as Danny Boyle’s Oscar-nominated Slumdog Millionaire continues to face criticism from some quarters for its “poverty porn peddling”, one might see The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga’s Booker-winning treatise on the underbelly of India, on the big screen soon.
The chances of Adiga’s novel, a story of an “India that is two countries in one: an India of Light, and an India of Darkness”, being picked up by a top-notch international director has increased manifold with the Berlin Film Festival picking it up as one of the 12 books that have “high screen adaptation potential”.
The selection includes a variety of subjects genres – “there is something for every producer interested in literary adaptations, and for every budget range: from a love-struck superhero in Bologna to an inconceivable crime in New York in the 1960s, from the adventures of an 18th century female pirate to the slums of Bangalore, or from Bulgaria to Hawaii”, as the festival organisers have put it.
The White Tiger and the other selected books will be presented at the “Books at Berlinale” event of the 59th edition of the festival beginning February five, all of them to be pitched in front of international producers. The programme will be part of the Berlinale Co-Production Market.
“The 12 new books will be presented, all selected for their high screen adaptation potential…This allows producers to talk directly with film rights holders about the material they are interested in,” the festival has said.
Michael Portillo, chairman of the five-member judging panel for the Man Booker Prize, had been criticised by many for saying after declaring Adiga as the winner that “what set this one (The White Tiger) apart was its originality. For many of us this was entirely new territory — the dark side of India”.
The event, being held for the fourth year in a row, is the result of a cooperation between the Berlin Film Festival and the Frankfurt Book Fair.
“The books to be presented are all bestsellers, award-winners, or brand-new publications, meaning that the producers also have the exclusive opportunity to secure film rights early, before the book hits the market,” a festival announcement said. “The books selected combine literary quality, popular success and a high screen adaptability.”
Among the other books selected are He Who Walks on Lava by Reinhard Stöckel, Drowned by Margriet de Moor, Sorry by Zoran Drvenkar, Is this the Way Women die? by Didier Decoin, Éditions Grasset & Fasquelle, Queen of the Seas by Katja Doubek, Four Days in March by Jens Christian Grondahl, Whom the Gods Destroy by Gianluca Morozzi, and The Angel’s Exile by Gilles Legardinier.