Same story, new cover

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ALL THAT GLOSS The new versions of `The Namesake', `Devdas' and ` Parineeta'
ALL THAT GLOSS The new versions of `The Namesake', `Devdas' and ` Parineeta'

The written words have been around and endeared many. Then comes a new edition when a film is based on the book. Does it attract more readers? Sangeetha Devi. K finds out

Mira Nair's celluloid version of The Namesake has travelled the globe as part of film festivals and earned accolades before opening on the big screens. We, in Hyderabad, have had to wait an extra week than the other metros to see the film. Meanwhile, Jhumpa Lahiri's book has acquired a new sheen. The montage of visuals from the movie, featuring Tabu and Irrfan Khan, replaces the earlier cover. Harper Collins India is trying to capitalise on the renewed interest in the book through the reprint (20,000 copies being released in India). The Namesake finds itself in the bestseller list again. In addition, there's the illustrated version of the book with inputs by Mira Nair. This book leads you into the development of the script, the costumes, the setting and the journey through photographs from the movie.Call it clever marketing but the phenomenon isn't new. English versions of Sarat Chandra's Devdas now have a cover picture of Shah Rukh and Aishwarya and Parineeta has a visual from the film featuring Vidya Balan, Saif Ali Khan and Sanjay Dutt. Does all this translate to buying?"I'd browse through the new version of The Namesake but I'm not sure if I'd buy it. I don't feel the need to succumb to the hype unless the book interests me. I attempted to read The Mahabharata after watching the television series but it hasn't worked similarly for other books. This isn't a Batman kind of merchandising that would interest the masses," feels Alina Sen, a corporate communications manager."There are a million takers for a movie while only a few thousands read books. So this packaging helps to attract non-readers. But an avid reader would only go by content. Buying a book for its cover amounts to buying a house for its paint," says Kanishka Dasgupta, part of the corporate strategy group with an IT firm. Drawing parallels to international books, he says, "Cinderella Man is being sold with a picture of Russel Crowe. Readers are smart and will buy the book only if they are intrigued by the story."Writer Anju Khemani seconds that thought and says, "When you read, you are pulled into the vortex of the book and it's your own interpretation. I wouldn't like someone else to put a face to it."Bookstores in the city affirm that the reprinted versions have generated curiosity but only a few readers have opened their wallets. "Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies had a lot more buyers than The Namesake, despite all the hype surrounding the movie," says Lingam Prasad of Walden.Finally, it's the film that's emerged a winner. An excited Tabu says, "The film has entered US top 20, has made over $ 1.1 million and broken 10 year opening week record in New York City.




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