Deepa Mehta to adapt Funny Boy on-screen

Sep 06, 2018, 08:03 IST | PTI

Funny Boy, first published in 1994, the book chronicles six poignant stories of a boy coming to age within a wealthy Tamil family in Colombo

Deepa Mehta to adapt Funny Boy on-screen
Deepa Mehta

Filmmaker Deepa Mehta's next film is an adaptation of Sri Lankan-Canadian novelist Shyam Selvadurai's Funny Boy. First published in 1994, the book chronicles six poignant stories of a boy coming to age within a wealthy Tamil family in Colombo. Between the ages of seven and fourteen, he explores his sexual identity, and encounters the Sinhala-Tamil tensions leading up to the 1983 riots.

"I am going to start shooting for a film from January called 'Funny Boy'. It's based on Shyam Selvadurai's book. It's a really lovely, coming-of-age story with a Sri Lankan setting," Mehta said. The director, whose previous works like "Earth" and "Midnights Children" were also book adaptations, said it's hard for her not to visualise books cinematically while she's reading.

"I love adapting books. There are some books which are cinematic and there are some which aren't. When I read a book, I keep visualising it. Words come to life, you form images and sometimes I can even see who's acting in it." The director today announced the ten most distinguished novels of the year for the inaugural JCB Prize for Literatute. Of these ten, the jury will select a shortlist of five and then eventually the final award of Rs 25 lakhs will be given to the writer of the winning novel on October 27.

"All ten of them are brilliant. Some of them opened my eyes about things I hadn't thought about, some of the translated works blew my mind. Such incredible work is happening in Malayalam and Marathi. There is so much of literature still untapped," she said. She is the chair of the jury consisting of scholar Rohan Murthy, Yale University asyrophysicist and writer Priyamvada Natarajan, novelist Vivek Shanbhag and author Arshis Sattar. The five short-listed writers each revive Rs 1 lakh and if the winning work is a translation, the translator received an additional Rs 5 lakh.

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