Gregory David Roberts’ bestselling novel Shantaram will now be made into a television series, the rights of which have been brought by Paramount Television and Anonymous Content. The companies have also bought rights for Roberts’ follow up novel The Mountain Shadow.
Shantaram chronicles the story of an Australian robber and heroin addict, who gets convicted for a series of crimes, and is sentenced to 19 years in prison. After two years of jail time, Roberts escapes and becomes Australia’s most wanted criminal. Using a fake passport, he comes to Mumbai (then Bombay) where he befriends a tour guide, Prabaker. Prabaker takes Lin (an alias) to his village, where his mother rechristens him, Shantaram.
The novel focuses on Shantaram’s journey, as he witnesses the tragic outbreak of cholera in the city, his run-ins with the mafia, and his understanding of Maximum city. The novel was published in 39 languages and has sold six million copies.
Speaking about the association, Roberts told a leading daily,
I’m honored and humbled in equal measure as a writer, and thrilled for the many readers who have hoped that Shantaram would become a vivid screen experience. Television is the perfect medium for the novel, and Steve Golin and Nicole Clemens at Anonymous Content are the perfect partners.”
Reportedly, Golin had been eyeing the property for more than a decade. Anonymous Content and Paramount TV were behind the hit Netflix show 13 Reasons Why, and are backing a six-part limited series based on Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, starring and to be directed by George Clooney.
In 2013, Shantaram was rumoured to be adapted into a feature film by Johnny Depp – directed by Mira Nair – and starring Joel Edgerton in the lead. However, the movie didn’t pan out.
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