Producer Siddharth Roy Kapur believes it is the right time to bring author William Dalrymple’s The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company on screen as the world today is evaluating the effect of colonisation.
His banner Roy Kapur Films and American studio Wiip officially announced the series in April with screenwriter Jeremy Brock, known for movies such The Last King of Scotland and Mrs. Brown, on board to adapt the 2019 book.
“The time is right for the story to be told because there’s global reckoning when it comes to colonisation and what the world went through in the past. It is a story that both former colonisers and colonies are going to find resonance with.
“It is also relevant when you talk about corporate takeovers of nations and the concerns today around those practices,” the producer told PTI in an interview on the sidelines of Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2023 – Word to Screen – an options market.
The story of The Anarchy is a monumental effort that will appeal to a wider audience, he said.
“Besides, it has great characters, so those are reasons why it will work around the world. It is a monumental effort. It is going to take time, blood, sweat, and tears literally to put it together. But we think it will all be worth it,” Roy Kapur added.
Known for backing projects such as Dev D, The Lunchbox, Dangal, The Sky Is Pink, and Rocket Boys, the producer said it is the story — whether an original or an adaptation — that governs his decision.
“You have to be driven by the story. But invariably what one finds is that there are so many novels, even non-fiction books such as The Anarchy… that are screaming to be adapted for the screen because they are told compellingly, and are well-researched.” Roy Kapur also gave an update about his next untitled production, which is an investigative thriller, featuring Shahid Kapoor. The film will go on the floor next month, he said.
“It (film) is something that we have been working on for a while. The team has been charged up to be able to tell the story,” he added.
The producer said it is great to see audiences once again warming up to the big-screen experience and he hopes the trend continues.
“We were writing the obituary of cinema a year ago. Today, everyone is writing paeans about the audiences back in theatres. So, it tells you how fickle narratives can be, and how quickly things can change.
“It is a wonderful time for cinema, where everything from Jawan to Oppenheimer is working. So, hopefully, the trend keeps going,” he said.
Roy Kapur’s latest release is the comedy-drama film Tumse Na Ho Payega, which premiered on Disney+ Hotstar last month. His upcoming productions include Pippa and Woh Ladki Hai Kahaan?