Books to films: When a writer loses rights and is left in lurch

Books to movies, novel to films Tamil Malayalam
Writers, including the Jnanpith awardee, have been treated mercilessly by filmmakers who promise to adapt novels and books, only to give them the slip. | Illustration - Eunice Dhivya

When Sreekumar Menon, a well-known Malayalam ad filmmaker-turned-feature film director approached the renowned Malayalam author MT Vasudevan Nair for making a film on his celebrated novel Randamoozham (Second Chance), it immediately made headlines.

For the ad filmmaker was quite well known, having worked with film stars across industries and having created impactful works for Kalyan Jewellers and Manappuram Finance.

Randamoozham was MT’s (as the author is popularly known) most popular work. Published in 1984, the novel revisits the epic Mahabharata focussing on Bhima, the second of the five Pandava brothers, in a realistic manner sans spiritual twists. The novel had won the Vayalar Award that is given to the best work of fiction in Malayalam, the very next year. Following this, it was translated into many Indian languages, including in Tamil as Irandam Idam (Second Place) by noted translator Kurinjivelan.

Although the film was announced in 2017, Menon, it was said, had met MT in 2014 itself, and the duo had signed a contract then, to adapt the novel for the big screen.

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