Parinda Joshi, an MS in Computer Science has been an avid storyteller with 3 novels under her name. Born and brought up in Ahmedabad, Mrs Joshi who is a mother of her precocious mini-me is an avid traveller, a photographer along with an irresistible lover of modern poetry. Mrs Joshi currently resides in The Silicon Valley with her loving husband and cute princess.
In an exclusive interview with the Editor-in,-Chief of The Literary Mirror, Mrs Joshi talks about the various facades of literature along with the essential pre-requisites for a book to make it to the screen.
- What are those factors of a novel to make it commercially viable to be adapted into a movie?
Ans.: Regardless of whether a novel is ripe material for a movie or a web series, which makes it a good novel is no secret. It’s a captivating story narrated in a gripping manner with unique, layered characters, something that takes readers on a compelling journey and makes them feel.
Production houses often turn to books because popular books or book series are accompanied by an ardent fan base who then become influencers for the on-screen content, giving it additional publicity and word-of-mouth reviews. With the advanced analytics that streaming services often tap into, they are aware of the genres and sub-categories that are most popular, among other data points, and it makes more business sense for them to find content within that space.
- How much the essence of a novel gets distorted while bringing it to the screens?
Ans.: It depends. When a production house finds a book they think will translate well on screen, the options and, subsequently, purchase the book from the author. They can then choose to create a screenplay based on the book as it is or develop it further with their team of writers. The end product may closely mimic the book or turn out to be very different from it. The author would have to explicitly agree to this via the contract drawn out between the parties. The author can be a part of the writing team or even be a solo writer. Again, this would be contingent upon the terms agreed to by both parties.
- What challenges does an author have to face in the era of remakes of old classics while pitching a fresh idea to a movie director/producer?
Ans.: While the old classics are being remade, high-concept stories that push the envelope on revolutionary ideas are also enjoying a quiet moment of spotlight. Good stories told compellingly will never go out of style. An author just has to keep looking for an idea with a strong hook that the audiences can buy into. Whether it’s a fresh take on an old concept or something beyond the realm of the audience’s imagination, the struggle for a writer is the same: originality, re-invention, innovative ways to deliver the key message in the screenplay, creating fleshed-out characters people can invest in and a meaningful narrative to tie it all together.
- Does being an NRI give you privilege in pitching your novel to Production Houses or it had been just an existing stereotyping?
Ans.: Neither. A writer can typically pitch ideas to production houses in one of two ways: via agents or through connections. In both cases, it’s your ideas that are instrumental in taking you to the next round. Your bio helps in terms of your body of work, not your location. The world is increasingly becoming flat. The next big idea can virtually spring from anywhere and is largely evaluated on merit, in my experience.
- In the era of digitization where readers are getting away from reading habits, don’t you think adapting the books into movies will further distance them?
Ans.: The use of audiobooks is definitely on the rise but data in the US, where I live, shows that the average number of books people read in a year has largely remained unchanged since 2011.
However, books are inherently different from movies, and movies based on books are largely the director’s interpretation of the world the author has created. That’s precisely what pulls in a reader – the need to experience the stories they’ve loved via a different medium.
- How much the Indian movie industry has been perceptible towards Business Movies as we are still wrapped up in the genre of romance and thriller?
Ans.: I think the appetite is there for audiences to be treated to genres other than rom-coms and thrillers. The rise of streaming platforms with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video paving the way and several indigenous platforms coming into prominence has been indicative of the fact that the golden era of content is here and viewers are ready for original and interesting stories that are genre-agnostic.
- What would be your message to the young writers with your recently released novel?
Ans.: My advice to young writers would be to take risks with the subject, create relatable characters and create a world that’s deeply engrossing, and conflicts that feel real. Again, easier said than done. To achieve all that, I’d advise writers to read a lot across genres; fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. It opens up your mind to new styles of writing, whether it’s contemporary, lyrical or literary and widens your horizons. And don’t quit your job to write full time until you make it really really big.