Bangor University student sells film rights to latest best-seller
A student studying at Bangor University has just sold the film rights for his second novel- an Indian bestseller. Ashwin Sanghi’s novel Chanakya’s Chant is to be adapted into a film by UTV Motion Pictures.
Described as a historical political thriller, and released only in January 2011, the book shot into the Top‐5 bestsellers in India within two weeks of its launch and hit the #1 spot on India-Today’s bestseller list in April. The novel is an interesting fast‐paced story based on politics in two radically different eras.
The book narrates two parallel political tales, one written 2,300 years ago and the other in post‐independence contemporary India. The ancient story is largely historical, based upon the rise to power of Chanakya—India’s Machiavelli—and the clever tactics applied by him towards installing Chandragupta Maurya on the throne. The modern story is mostly fictional and tells the tale of Kanpur’s Pandit Gangasagar Mishra, who draws inspiration from the master strategist Chanakya, and employs his strategies in a modern context to get his protégée Chandini Gupta appointed to the highest office—that of Prime Minister—in India. The story illustrates that the wisdom contained in the traditional literature attributed to Chanakya is relevant today as when it was written.
Ashwin Sanghi, author of Chanakya’s Chant and Bangor University student said: “The response to the book has been phenomenal. India’s younger generation is on a quest to explore Indian history but this needs to be packaged in a manner that appeals to contemporary sensibilities. I hope that this trend will continue. UTV has a robust creative team and I am confident that they will do justice to the terrific story presented in this novel.”
He says: “Bangor was my preferred choice of University primarily because of the flexibility of the program combined with high academic standards. I had written my first novel before I enrolled at Bangor but my second novel was written subsequently. I wanted a program that would allow me to pursue my other goals in life while offering me the opportunity to critically examine my work. While I am yet to submit my final dissertation, I do believe that the process of introspection initiated at Bangor has certainly helped me evolve.
“Writing is my meditation. It's my way of escaping the drudgery of my otherwise monochromatic life. I was always fond of writing and had contributed several articles to the school magazine during my student days at Yale. When I returned to India, I continued to sporadically contribute a few articles to Indian newspapers but this did not excite me. I was always a creative individual and saw myself as a storyteller more than writer, hence the transition to fiction.
“As a storyteller, it excites me to know that the reach of the story will be far wider than what it would have been as a mere novel. However, the key challenge shall lie in keeping the screenplay true to the novel. It is precisely for this reason that I have chosen to sign an agreement with UTV because they were able to give me the required confidence in this regard.
Talking of his plans for the future, Ashwin says:
“I'm working on a third novel, commissioned by my publisher. I hope to have it published by mid-2012. While I cannot reveal the subject due to reasons of confidentiality, I can tell you that it shall have all the usual elements that constitute my literary DNA: history, mythology, conspiracy, and mystery.”
Dr Nathan Abrams, one of Ashwin’s PhD supervisors at Bangor University commented:
"This is fantastic news. First, Bangor English graduate Danny Boyle achieves Oscar success Directing Slumdog Millionaire, and now we can expect a film based on Ashwin Sanghi’s bestselling novel.”
“I am delighted for him, not least because he is a self-taught writer. I am really looking forward to the going to the premiere in India," he added.
Siddharth Roy Kapur, CEO, UTV Motion Pictures, said "Chanakya’s Chant is one of those rare books with a storyline that has the potential to be translated into a superbly cinematic and immensely entertaining screenplay. The tale is about the underbelly of national politics which the book superbly exposes.”
Ashwin Sanghi self-published his first novel that eerily predicted many aspects of the Mumbai attacks. Based on the supposed survival of Christ after crucifixion, and his travel to India, The Rozabal Line, a fiction conspiracy thriller, also succeeded in creating a fiction conspiracy thriller genre in Indian literature. It was re-published in 2008 by Westland Ltd., a member of the Tata Group.
Publication date: 5 July 2011