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    Feb 2010


    Default Sikandar director turns crime novelist

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    Award-winning director Piyush Jha whose 2009 film Sikandar about a little boy’s dreams to be a footballer in militancy-ridden Kashmir fetched him rave notices, has been lying low for 3 years.

    Piyush has now resurfaced in a startling new avatar. He has taken to writing crime novels. In fact his first novel Mumbaistan is being published by Rupa & Co in the first week of August. It will be released by Piyush’s newly-found patron-saint Ekta Kapoor.

    He has cut a lucrative 3-book deal with Rupa.

    Ekta, a fan of edgy pop-art, took a shine to Piyush Jha’s crime writing and has already reserved the filming right of one of his future crime thrillers.

    So fond is Ekta of Piyush’s crime drama that she officially gave the director-turned-novelist the front-cover blurb for his first novel.

    Ripping a page out of The Dirty Picture Ekta’s generously given Piyush’s novel the blub, “A potboiling page-turner packed with three main ingredients: entertainment, entertainment and entertainment.”

    Piyush doesn’t underplay Ekta’s contribution to his new vocation. “I discovered the writer in me quite by accident. After the release of Sikandar I was at a loose end wondering what to direct next when I started writing a crime novel just for a lark. I never knew how far it would go. Or whether it’d even get completed. When I finished the first novel I sent it to three publishers. To my surprise, all three accepted the manuscript. I chose Rupa. Now I am well into my second crime novel.”

    Piyush’s first novel Mumbaistan will be turned into Piyush’s next feature film. Says the diffident director-writer,“Mumbaistan is actually three novellas about the underbelly of Mumbai, brought together as one novel. I now need to choose the one story from the novel that I want to turn into a film. Or retain all three and make a three-segment feature film.”

    Piyush is reluctant to talk about Ekta Kapoor’s plans vis-à-vis his crime fiction. “She has been extremely supportive. And she has given me the official blurb for Mumbaistan. I’ve been fortunate in discovering this talent for fiction writing which I didn’t know existed within me. I am committed to my publisher for three novels. I will continue writing my novels even when I am directing my next film.”

    Next on Piyush’s list of must-dos: turn his last film Sikandar into a novel.

    But his forte will be crime fiction.

    Explains Piyush, “Though there is a thriving market for crime fiction in Hindi this genre has not really been explored in the English language. My crime novels would explore the underbelly of Mumbai where every kind of crime happens. It’s a hotbed not only for crime but also for crime fiction”.

    Piyush’s novels would not only provide the screenplay material for his own films, he is also willing to part with his fiction for other filmmakers. Ekta Kapoor has already reserved the right to film one of Piyush’s films.

    We’ve heard of a music composer Vishal Bharadwaj taking to another vocation, filmmaking, with resounding success. But a filmmaker turning into a successful novelist. That’s a novel one.

    Laughs Piyush, “It’s all destiny. Writing just fell into my lap. Today I’m still a filmmaker first. But writing comes just as effortlessly to me.”



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