Book Adaptation Form Only: 

This information is to be provided by the author.  

 

 


Book Adaptation Transmittal Form:

 

TITLE: “TANDOORI TEXAN TALES” consisting of following:

 

1.     THE CELEBRITY;

2.     COMING TO AMERICA;

3.     SOJOURN;

4.     POTSHOTS AT HOTSHOTS;

5.     TRYST WITH A MYSTERY WOMAN;

6.     PARADISE LOST AND PARADISE REGAINED.

               

 

AUTHOR:   RAJ DORE

             

 

LOCATIONS(s): INDIAN SUBCONTINENT – UDAIPUR, DELHI

              USADALLAS TX, LITTLE ROCK AR, RALEIGH NC.  

                      

 

PERIOD:       1. 1985 – 2005;

              2. 1977 – 2005;

               3. 1950 – 2005;

               4. 1985;

               5. Fictional time;

              6. 1940 – 1962.             

 

 

GENRE:  Drama, Biography.

 

         

 

The Current Logline of the Work (approximately 3 sentences):

 

These six tales are filled with humor, passion, joys, sorrows and the whole gamut of human emotions that one encounters when two cultures meet. Whether you are from the Indian sub-continent or not, you will empathize with the characters.

 

 

 

The Current Synopsis of the Work (MUST BE approximately 8-10 pages):

 

. 

Please see attachment.

 

 

The Current Length of the Work (# of words): 

 

About 6000 words.

 

 

Genre/Market/Demographic Focus:  People from the Indian subcontinent, people interested in cross cultural episodes all across the globe.

 

 

Describe The Main Characters:

 

1.      The Celebrity:

 

Archana Roy – a very beautiful and famous movie star;

 

Rohit Sharma – a very ordinary young man from a well to do middle class respectable family struggling to make a living with a bad marriage.

 

Seema Dhillon – a spoilt young lady caught in cross currents of cultures with a domineering mother and very little identity of her own.

 

2.      All the rest of the stories: Name, Nickname, Relationship to me the main character:

S. C. Dore “Appanna” My father

Chellammal “Akka” My Mother

Sundarambal “Amma” My father’s mother

Kalyaniammal “Kalyanathai” My father’s youngest sister

Vijayammmal “Vijayamchitti” My mother’s younger sister

Dattatri “Dattanna” My brother number 1

Vishwanath “Vichanna” My brother number 2

Ramnath “Ramanna” My brother number 3

Prem “Premanna” My brother number 4

Gokal “Gullanna” My brother number 5

Giridhari “Giri” My brother number 6

Nirupama “Roopa” My sister, Sibling number 7

Rajkumar “Babu” Myself

Mukhi Mangharam “Mukhi-sahib” My father’s Employer

& dear friend

 

 

Describe any Supporting Characters:

 

1.                  The Celebrity:

 

Rajesh Dhillon – a Wing Commander in the Air Force who amassed wealth by corrupt means;

 

Ranjana Dhillon – wife of Rajesh, who is domineering, self centered and arrogant of the wealth they had accumulated;

 

Anita Singh – a very pretty girl who had a crush on Rohit Sharma in the college.

 

2.         The other stories are biographical and most characters are as per the ones mentioned earlier.

 

What actors or actresses (if any) are visualized for these parts?

 

1.      The Celebrity:

 

Archana Roy                       Aishwarya Rai;

Rohit Srivastava        -           Saif Ali Khan;

Seema Dhillon            -           Vidya Balan

Rajesh Dhillon           -           Anupam Kher

Ranjana Dhillon         -           Kiron Kher;

Anita Singh                 -           Preiti Zinta

 

2    I have not visualized any actors or actresses for the other stories.

 

 

Do you have any comments or questions that we can specifically answer?

 

There are 3 major stories: The Celebrity, Sojourn, Paradise Lost & Paradise Regained. ‘Sojourn’ can be a stand alone story or embedded into the other 2 stories as sub-plot.

 

Of the 3 short minor stories: ‘Coming to America’ and ‘Potshots at Hotshots’ can also be combined or embedded into any of the major stories. ‘Tryst with a Mystery Woman’ is not easy to be combined with other stories and can be used by expanding it further or left as a short story.

 

 

If you are requesting a PITCH SHEET, give us the following information as to your intentions:  Are you intending to sell the film rights to your novel plan and would like the pitch sheet to primarily be a sales tool, something which could accompany your manuscript on a submission?  OR, do you plan to write your screenplay adaptation yourself before attempting to sell the film rights and hope the pitch sheet will give you a template/guide to help you with the adaptation process?

 

I intend to sell the film rights to my novel plan and would like the pitch sheet to primarily be a sales tool, something which could accompany my manuscript on a submission .

 

Critique Section – This information will be provided by the Editor: 

 

 


COVERAGE DATE: Nov. 11, 2006

    

PREPARED BY: Philip

 

 

The Book’s Title – How catchy is it?  How well does it convey the content?

 

It’s a great title, but it doesn’t fit what you’ve written. The title conjures up tales of a misplaced Indian in Texas, but your novel is set mostly in India.  If you have Texas in the title, you really have to have the bulk of it happening in, or concerned with Texas. I’d suggest another title.

 

 

The Book’s Current Logline –  Does it intrigue the reader?  Is it written correctly?

 

Your logline needs a little smoothing out. You need to sell the movie a little, tell us more of what it’s about. Try looking up films with a similar tone (there are a lot of anthology films) to see how they do it.  A great website for loglines is:

http://breakingin.net/logline.htm

 

 

 

The Book’s Current Synopsis – How well does it intrigue the reader?

 

Though I enjoyed your writing, your synopsis is too long (8-10 pages is standard), and it ignores the format for a synopsis. Normally only the most important quotes of dialogue are included, and no full excerpts from the book are listed.  The synopsis is written in a past tense, or more commonly, a present-tense style, and the story is efficiently condensed.  Even though I know your story from the novel, the synopsis leaves out essential details (like what exactly happens on the plane for example.) A prospective director, producer, or production company does not want to be tantalized, they want to know what they’re buying.

 

If you’re not familiar with the synopsis format for books or film, try reading the jacket copy, or even the reviews of books or films. They often consolidate stories without giving everything away.  The test is if a reader can tell someone else what a movie or book is about without having read or seen the original material. After having read your synopsis, I’m not sure I could summarize what the novel is about effectively or thoroughly.

 

One of your big challenges is that your main story (the biographical one) is lost with the start of your mid-air drama with Archana Roy.  It seems like a completely different story than your historical biography.

 

I was ultimately more interested in the historical events of your family than in the romance with Archana. I think you have enough with just the journey through India’s post-war struggles, it’s division from Pakistan, etc.  For some reason the director Barry Levinson comes to mind. He is from Baltimore and often uses that city to set epic stories of America and her immigrant families who struggle for success.  Merchant Ivory would have been my choice to bring India to America for a story like yours, but Ismail died last year, leaving only half of the production team, albeit the English half.

 

Grammar Police: Your writing is fairly confident, but minor grammatical errors like the lack of articles and antiquated adjectives and modifiers makes for a sometimes clunky read.

 

 

The Book’s Narrative --  How easily could the story be adapted to Film? Discuss adjustments which might be necessary. Discuss how well the narrative would (or wouldn’t) work within the 3 Act structure common to all screenplays.

 

In order to successfully adapt this story for film, some severe streamlining would have to take place.  Even though my opinion is that the Indian biography is more interesting than its American counterpart, one or the other would suffice for a film.  To do both would require a genre-busting miniseries, and I don’t think that’s a realistic approach.

 

Remember that a film is about 2 hours, and decades of time are a challenge to compress. You also have the added element of writing for a primarily American audience.  In your passage describing Archana’s disrobing for example, I wasn’t sure what exactly she was taking off. You can’t afford to lose readers because of cross-cultural ignorance. You’ve got of find a way to bring in the new and sell it too.

 

If you’re interested in doing a script version, I urge you to choose the storyline that speaks most powerfully to you and focus on that. Again, your novel reads like to separate books and the difference is too jarring. 

 

How are the Book’s Current Characters? Would they translate cinematically? How about their dialogue? What adjustments must be made?

 

Your characters are certainly cinematic, but again, the American corporate survival angle is not nearly as interesting as Rohit’s journey from near abortion to being the last child to graduate from college. His experience in America is another life and may be better left to another film adaptation.  That said, we really need to be steeped in India.  This does bring up the problem of a sale to an American audience.  Other than the rare exception like Ghandi, Indian films do not do well in the States. There are no popular American stars from India other than Kal Penn who is still only known to the college set because of his role in Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. 

 

Again, in the choice of which story to tell, you risk losing Rohit to that of his father.  The one solution would be parallel stories that somehow manage to cross at the climax of the film so that some essential survival technique passes from Appanna to Rohit.

 

 

 

Discuss Book-to-Script Adaptation Dynamics as applicable:

 

Settings/Locations/Time Period -- in regard to Budget and Production ease or difficulty:

 

This would be a fairly large undertaking as it deals with time more than 50  years past in another country.  It would take a substantial commitment from a large studio to pull this off.

 

Potential Budget Level – is it in line with expectations for the Target Demographic/ Audience:

 

This is a Big Budget movie.  I don’t think American audiences would necessarily appreciate the undertaking, but Indian ones certainly would.

 

Themes –  Would they translate well cinematically? Are they of “feature film” import?

 

I think the survival of a family in times of upheaval are universal and it’s your greatest strength.  Appanna’s fall from grace, and his long slow climb is the stuff of great storytelling.

 

Discuss/describe Additional Elements from a Cinematic standpoint – e.g. visual effects,  e.g. action sequences -- as applicable to the genre of the novel

This is a huge story with all kinds of historical and universal relevance.  The earlier chapters dealing with Rohit’s romance are for another film. Your real wealth is possibly the story of a family’s survival through the eyes of its youngest members.

 

 

Conclusion and Recommendation in Regards to Film Viability and Commercial Potential:

 

I recommend focusing on your family’s history and the riches-to-rags-to-riches story.  It’s not that uncommon, but it’s rarely done anymore.  Something else in your favor is that America has done it’s own war and histories to death.  We have not seen enough of the outside world.  I think getting a film like this produced or financed in America is a big challenge.  India or England might be easier to find financing. Then you can find distribution in America.

 

If you decide to focus solely on Rohit, I think you have less in common with your American audience and I think you also would have more work to do in the adaptation.

 

Yours was an interesting story to read, I wish you luck with the book and your script adaptation.

 

- Philip


 

 

 

 

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Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.  If further assistance is needed please consider us first.   We are willing to work with you to re-evaluate after you've made your changes, help you with your changes, or assist you with formatting and mechanical aspects of your writing.  Just let us know.

The Critique makes valid points and here are my comments:

1. First and foremost, these are different tales, three major ones and three minor ones. They are not supposed and expected to be coalesced into one movie. This fact must take care of most of Philip’s problems. This also means I have to write different loglines for different stories.

2. Yes I agree with what he has said about the synopsis being long and could better summarize the stories. I had to do it single handedly in a hurry and I could use some help.

3. Non-South-Asian population may not know what I am talking about when they read about Archana disrobing. They definitely would be interested in ‘seeing’ that being done and finding out. Then they would know what south-Asian women wear under their garments, like ‘Scottish Kilt’!! As a matter of fact it is high time the Western audiences got interested in and got to know other cultures. There are several similar items all through the book that screen-play will have to tackle.

4. ‘The Celebrity’ is meant predominantly for the south-Asian audiences, in the USA as well as abroad, even though Americans may also find it interesting as to how they and their country looks to others who come here. Especially for the ones back in India, it gives a perspective of life here in the USA. There are some very common stereo-typing myths that I am trying to explode. Streets in the US are not paved with gold, but have to be paved by ones that want the gold. American girls are not falling all over innocent Indian boys, while their little ‘doe eyed innocent maidens’ that they left behind in India are shedding tears for them preserving their virginity. Not all Asians that come to the USA are dumb boat people looking to blow up buildings etc., etc.

5. ‘The Celebrity’ might be a story that might interest someone like Gurinder Chaddha (“Bend it Like Beckham”). As a matter of fact Aishwarya Rai, on whom the central character of Archana Roy is based, is desperately trying to find a foot hold in the Hollywood.

6. “Paradise Lost & Paradise Regained” could go the way Philip has rightly suggested. I wonder if anybody else could work with the team left behind by Ivory Merchant. “Sojourn” is a toss up that could interest any producer from the East or West. We should also explore producers/directors in Bollywood who may want to make a break through abroad in the States like Mani Ratnam or Shyam Benegal.

7. Yes, I agree the book could use some professional editing with regards to grammar and polishing of syntax in many places. I was too short on time and hand, while very enthusiastic to get it published.

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