The Sikandar of crime

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 reviews, has now resurfaced in a new avatar as a crime novelist.

Piyush Jha

In fact his first novel, Mumbaistan, is being published by Rupa & Co, with whom he has cut a three-book deal. The book is slated to hit bookstores by the first week of August and will be released by Ekta Kapoor.

Ekta took immediate interest in Jha’s crime writing and has already reserved the rights to film one of his future crime thrillers. Apparently, she is so fond of Jha that she even wrote a front-cover blurb for his first novel.

“I discovered the writer in me quite by accident. After the release of Sikandar, I was wondering what to direct next when I started writing a crime novel just for a lark. When I finished the first novel I sent it to three publishers and to my surprise, all three accepted the manuscript.”

Jha’s first novel Mumbaistan will also be turned into a feature film. He says, “Mumbaistan is actually three novellas about the underbelly of Mumbai, as one novel. I need to choose one story from the novel that I can turn into a film or retain all three to make a three-segment film.”

He doesn’t underplay Ekta’s contribution to his new vocation. “She has been extremely supportive and has written the official blurb for Mumbaistan. I’ve been fortunate to discover my talent for fiction writing. I am committed to my publisher for three novels.

I will continue writing even when I am directing my next film.” Next on Jha’s list is to convert his last film Sikandar into a novel.

Music composer Vishal Bharadwaj took to filmmaking with success; but a filmmaker turning into a successful novelist is something new. “It’s destiny. Writing just fell into my lap. I’m still a filmmaker first. But writing comes just as effortlessly to me,” says Jha. 

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