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Hollywood nod for Indian book

Timeri N. Murari's book, "Lovers Are Not People" is all set to be recreated in Hollywood

Pic by V. Ganesan

IT'S TAKEN 25 years for this story to soar from between the covers of a book on to the silver screen. And it's finally coming alive in Hollywood, the city that sells dreams neatly packaged in celluloid. `Lovers Are Not People' written by Chennai-based Timeri N. Murari is currently being recreated as a script so it can be made into a movie by `Carlton America' (a major Hollywood film production company).

Thankfully, Murari hasn't taken the well trod `Indian writer in English' route by gleefully diving head first into rooms fogged with incense and peopled by women in too much kajal frantically cooking `alu-gobi'. Instead of delving into his `rich cultural background', he's taken the road less travelled and written a story that has nothing Indian about it.

"It's a satiric romantic comedy about a woman whose husband leaves her. She's determined to get him back so she follows him," Murari says. The story, he adds, is essentially about love and marriage and could work in any setting, with any nationality. "I did try to interest Indian producers but they couldn't see the potential," says Murari, adding, "Indian films have been stuck on the two-brothers-and-two-sisters formula for years!" However, Bollywood being stuck in a time-warp where running around trees will never be passé was not Murari's only reason for looking for a producer abroad. "Dealing with Bollywood is not as legally binding... signing a contract there doesn't mean anything," he says.

"Hollywood's been interested in `Lovers Are Not People' for years. Then, producer William Blaylock fell in love with the book and bought it three months ago," says Murari adding, "They'll be casting it in a month or so and plan to bring it out by next summer." The amount he's paid Murari, however, is strictly confidential. "It's in the contract that I can't tell anyone," says Murari. "I think they know everyone asks `How much?' now, so they're putting that line in every contract." Either way, Murari expects the film to help the book. "A film is just a huge commercial for your book," he says.

Murari, who scripted the film `The Square Circle', has written more than a dozen books in fiction and non-fiction, all of which have been published in the U.K. His new book `Arrangement Of Love', which is set in Chennai, will be released in India even as `Lovers Are Not People' gets set to breathe in technicolour.

SHONALI MUTHALALY

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