The inspiring story of Jilian Haslam, a girl brought up in abject poverty in the slums of Kolkata who metamorphosed into a successful entrepreneur in London will soon be made into a Hollywood film.
Haslam had put down her experiences in the autobiography ‘Indian.English’, based on which British screenplay writer Neil O’ Neil has made a script.
“The film would be based on my life and my book. The script is ready and casting would go on shortly. Seven production houses have shown interest in making the film but we are yet to finalise one of them,” 43-year-old Haslam told PTI during a recent visit to the city.
She said shooting would begin from next year and would include Kolkata where she had spent her childhood in the slums of Khidirpore.
When asked which Hollywood actress will play her role in the yet-to-be-titled film, she said she would want American actress Julia Stiles as she has facial resemblance with her.
Besides being a motivational speaker, Haslam also runs a corporate training company in the UK.
Born in Kolkata to British parents who stayed back in India after 1947, she had a harrowing time in the dark squalid by-lanes of the city where her family often slept with a hungry stomach.
Being homeless, she was also abused and even lost her four siblings to poverty and hunger. But her courage and fighting spirit brought her out of the mess as she gradually rose to become a successful banking professional and left Kolkata in the 90s.
Haslam later migrated to London as a motivational speaker and corporate trainer.
Her real life fairy-tale journey from rags to riches would be the subject of the film.
“We lived in an 8×10 room with no electricity. We had a hand-to-mouth existence and I had given up all hopes of ever coming out of that. I lost four siblings due to malnutrition and poverty. Some people abused us while others were kind enough to help us. This is what gave me the hope,” said the Briton who calls herself a ‘Kolkata girl’.
She said the film would be a motivational story to inspire people that human spirit can overcome all odds.
“It will recall some of the darkest moments of my life when I lived under a staircase, was abused racially and physically, but survived all attacks. Some people in the neighbourhood attacked us, but some others helped us survive,” Haslam said.
She now plans to come back to the city and work for the development of underprivileged people with her NGO.