Kureishi and The White Tiger

A report in Screen International today announces that Hanif Kureishi has been commissioned by New York-based company Smuggler Films to adapt the Booker prizewinning novel The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga for a cinema feature production.

Smuggler Films is a UK/US outfit and funding is expected to come from a UK Film Council fund (and presumably other partners). No director is yet attached.

My first reaction is that this is another Slumdog scenario – Indian book, UK scriptwriter, UK/US production company. I’ve read the book and I enjoyed it, but couldn’t really see what all the fuss was about. Perhaps I should read it again. It reminded me in some ways of Indian novels in English from earlier periods with a decidedly modern twist re what is happening in big cities in India today (village boy gets involved in big city corruption and takes his revenge). Though it is not as well-written, I thought Q&A was just as interesting – both books have unusual narrative structures and it will be interesting to see how Kureishi turns an epistolary novel into a screenplay.

I wonder what others think – especially our readers in India. Could this cause a similar stir? Why hasn’t an Indian production company bought the rights? Who should direct it? What do you think about Kureishi as the screenwriter? I have plenty of time for him usually and he’s written some of my favourite films but I don’t know how much he knows about village life in the ‘Darkness’ (Adiga’s term) or about modern Bangalore.

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