Film Bazaar: India’s Book-to-Screen Segment Is Ripe For Development

The launch of a segment called ‘Book to Box Office’ within the Film Bazaar project market in Goa this week is an attempt to bridge the gap between filmmakers and authors, publishers and literary agencies.

The emergence of a panoply of streaming platforms in India competing for content has led to a rush for established IP that can be reimagined as films and TV series. Recent book-to-screen examples include “Sacred Games,” “The White Tiger,” “When Dimple Met Rishi,” “Six Suspects” and “Those Pricey Thakur Girls.”

The new program, conceived by Film Bazaar director Leena Khobragade, will see 27 participants from publishing houses, including: HarperCollins, Amar Chitra Katha and Story Ink; literary agencies Siyahi, The Book Bakers, Black Orient Swan; and individual authors pitch a selection of their books to Indian and international filmmakers, sales agents, distributors, OTT platforms, producers and financiers.

The pitching sessions will be followed by matchmaking sessions where participants can meet on a one-to-one basis.

Monday will also see Film Bazaar’s deputy director Varshaa Jainn host a session ‘Introducing Book to Box Office’ as part of the market’s Knowledge Series seminars. The following day, Sidharth Jain of Story Ink will moderate a session ‘From Manuscript to Screenplays’ featuring panelists: Vikram Sahay, joint secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting; Sunitha Tati, producer at Guru Films; Preeti Vyas, CEO and president, Amar Chitra Katha; Tanya Bami, series head, Netflix India; and director, author and writer Tahira Kashyap Khurrana.

India has a rich literary tradition, yet published writing is a relatively under-explored resource for screen content creators. Jain attributes this to “a fragmented-by-language film and TV industry and the publishing industry, and the lack of a structured story and script development process in the 1980s and the 1990s.”

Jain said the change has come about only in the last decade, accelerated by the entry of global streaming companies. “It’s a new era for writing material and writers,” he told News Brig.

“[Launching the new section is] a strong move from the government and especially the NFDC. It will help in highlighting published material, get people to meet from the two industries and should spark a more focussed development-support related initiative.”