As The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 gets ready to release in India next weekend on 24 November — after opening with the usual Twilighters’ hysteria that accompanies all the films in the extremely popular franchise this week in the US — there are whispers on home ground that filmmaker Satish Kaushik has bought the rights of the film to be made in India, Bollywood style.
Kaushik, famous for playing Calendar, the goofy character in Shekhar Kapur’s Mr India, is also an established film director. He has a huge body of work as both, an actor and director, with hits like Tere Naam, Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai and flops like Roop Ki Rani, Choron Ka Raja to his credit.
Kaushik confirms having bought the rights to a book based on vampires, but it is not Twilight. “I have not bought the rights to Twilight! I am in the process of setting up a film that is going to be India’s first vampire film, and comparisons and confusions with Twilight abound due to that. I have bought the rights of Shantanu Dhar’s book, The Company Red, which is a vampire saga and the book is already a national bestseller, with it’s first edition sold out. It is a very captivating story and I am trying to set up the film which is no easy task in today’s day and age as it is going to be a very expensive project. This story is absolutely different from the Twilight series and it is very Indian in its context and soul. It is not Twilight at all,” says Kaushik.
And while the filmmaker has not yet decided the cast, he has distributed the book to several youngsters for their feedback. “I have given the book to my friends and their kids to read and they have loved it. I have also given it to Shahid Kapoor. The film will include many American actors too as the protagonist in the story is based there,” he adds.
While Shahid playing a vampire sure sounds interesting, the film is still in its preliminary stages, with no leads finalised yet.
Kaushik and Shantanu first met when Kaushik was shooting for his film, Tere Sang at Shantanu's office, HCL, in New Delhi about four years ago.
“He showed me some of his work and narrated an idea to me for a story. I asked him to write it and he sent me some pages. I loved it and immediately staked claim to its film rights! He is an extremely gifted writer and it did not take him long to find a publisher soon after. Let’s see how the second edition of the book fares now. My dear friend, Anil Kapoor, was very gracious and called it a contemporary thriller and a must-read on the book's cover,” he elaborates.
The Company Red, inspired by Greek tragedies and the horror genre, is Shantanu's first novel in the Red trilogy, with a sequel and a final book in the pipeline.
The Twilight series may have raised the bar with its blood-sucking phenomena having taken over the world, but it is a relief to know that Kaushik's film will be an original Indian vampire film, and not a remake of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan's immortal love.