Coming up soon in your neighbourhood multiplex is a film based on Anita Nairs book,Lessons in Forgetting
After Anita Nairs novel,Lessons in Forgetting,about Meera,a cookbook writer,shot up the bestseller charts,a film seemed on the cards. After all authors Chetan Bhagat,Karan Bajaj and Vikas Swarup are now as sought after by producers as publishers. Lessons in Forgetting is set to roll on 70 mm,and Bangalore-based director Unni Vijayan and producer Prince Thampi are targeting a realease date later this year for the film of the same name.
Incidentally,Lessons in Forgetting was not the filmmakers first choice. When they first decided to work on a film together,the first name that struck them was Nairs 2005 bestseller Mistress. But the book required a larger canvas and more money, says Nair,who recommended her 2010 book instead. Lessons in Forgetting talks about gender bias,has a clear topography and a non-linear narrative, says Vijayan,who is now in Berlin to survey the festival circuit.
The English-language film focuses on Meera after her husband walks out on her. She is left to fend for her family in their crumbling old house. While looking for a job,she meets cyclone studies expert Jak who is investigating an attack on his teenage daughter that has left her in a vegetative state. The two narratives cross paths and the story evolves into one of human relationships and forgiving. Mumbai-based theatre actor Roshni Achreja plays Meera while Adil Hussain,who is also working in Ang Lees adaptation of Life of Pi ,enacts the role of the cyclone studies expert.
The filmmakers say that Indian writing in English has roused global interest,when it comes to adapting them to films. When it comes to Indian regional fiction,there is a context immediately – who is the audience,art-house or commercial?- all that is clear. But when you make an English-language film,it throws up a lot of questions like the nature of the audience and the film may not go beyond the multiplex audience, says Nair,who has also written the screenplay of the film. The film is currently in post-production stage.
Can films be an easier initiation into reading books by Indian authors? Vijayan and Nair disagree. The story has a lot of cinematic potential. Reading books is a different issue, says Vijayan. Nair contends,A lot of my readers may be from small towns,a place where the film may not reach.