Page to Screen: Jhumpa Lahiri Edition
Despite my love for almost all things television, I’ve never had any desire to actually work in the industry. I don’t think I’m creative enough to write/ act/ direct. Producing, though...another story. Given the drivel that consistently manages to get made, I think I have some good enough ideas. Unfortunately, most (ALL) of my TV show pitches are book adaptations. Here’s one of my passion dream projects.
Pitch: Adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies (one of my favorite books of all time, the title is permanently inked on me). This poignant collection of short stories was Lahiri’s incredible debut. The unfettered prose brilliantly captures the trauma of the immigrant experience, the quiet struggle of assimilation, and development of identity. Most of the stories are set in the suburbs of upper-middle class Boston, thus appealing to white NPR type viewers (perfect for HBO). The immigrant story transcends the Indian diaspora. It will be probably low rated but a critical darling, and will also draw Southeast Asian fans who will watch any show with brown people in them.
Channel: HBO and HBO only. Given their masterful treatment of Olive Kitteridge, I have faith the creative team will be able to do this justice and the content matter would be squarely in their wheelhouse.
Format: Miniseries, British style, click below for my favorite ones.
"When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine"
"A Real Durwan"
"The Treatment of Bibi Haldar"
I’ve omitted the last story because I think it’s explored better in Lahiri’s second collection (Season 2, perhaps?)
Cast: Freida Pinto (Twinkle), Kal Penn (Mr Das), Priyanka Chopra (Mrs. Das), Archie Panjabi (Shoba), Aasif Mandavi (Dev perhaps), Grace Gummer (Miranda), Tina Desai (Bibi Haldar)
Crew: Nicole Holofcener, Mira Nair (duh), Michael Uppendahl, Lesli Linka Glatter, Tarsem Singh, A different director for each episode, allowing them to play with tone and feel. However, much like the land of Pete and Pete, it will be perpetually fall, and feature a lot of earth tones.
One day after I’ve married rich and I have $$$ laying around, you can fully expect to see my name on these credits.