HBO is developing an OTT adaptation of Indian Canadian writer Rohinton Mistry’s 1996 Booker Prize-shortlisted novel, “A Fine Balance”, with Ritesh Batra, director of the much-acclaimed Irrfan Khan-starrer, “The Lunchbox”, helming the project.
The seven-part web series, reports ‘Variety’, is being produced by Blueprint Pictures, which steered “A Very British Scandal” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”, and Northwood Entertainment, which was behind “Anne With An E”. It will be shot in India from early June to November.
“A Fine Balance”, which was first published in Canada by McLelland and Stewart in 1995, went on to win the 1995 Giller Prize and was shortlisted for the 1996 Booker Prize.
Mumbai-born St Xavier’s College alumnus Mistry’s first novel, “Such A Long Journey”, which was also shortlisted for the Booker in 1991, was made into a 1998 movie starring the veteran British-Indian actor Roshan Seth.
Reporting the story, Variety notes that “A Fine Balance”, which centres around a rich widow, two tailors and a young student from vastly different parts of Indian society whose lives intersect in a tiny apartment, “traverses the political landscape of India from the country’s independence in 1947 through to the 21-month state of emergency called by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi between 1975 and 1977”.
Since its publication, adds ‘Variety’, the book, most recently dramatised by the BBC for a 2021 radio play, is regarded as one of the foremost novels about India after Independence.
It was selected by Oprah’s Book Club, which was, at the time in 2001, a rare feat for a Canadian novel, and also won the 1996 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book Overall.