From pocket novels to films

Writer Rajesh Kumar Photo: R.Ravindran  

Writer Rajesh Kumar is writing a crime novel when we call him up for an interview. He’s nearing 1,700 titles since he began writing in 1980. His 1,600th novel, a ‘medical crime thriller’, is being adapted into a movie titled Kuttram 23 by Arivazhagan of Eeram fame. The film’s audio was recently launched in the city, and the writer is excited about the promising trailer, released on August 31. Kuttram 23 stars Arun Vijay, who plays a police officer, in the lead. This is the second Rajesh Kumar novel to be adapted into a feature film — the science-based thriller Sandamarutham was loosely based on his novel Crime.Com.

Kuttram 23 is based on true events,” says the 69-year-old over the phone from Coimbatore. “I wrote the novel last year. The story was inspired by an article I read in a newspaper.” Rajesh says that the movie talks about the dark secrets behind certain multi-speciality hospitals. “It follows the happenings in the life of a young woman who is trapped in the murky goings-on inside. I can’t divulge too much about it though,” he adds. Rajesh’s stories are known for their twists, and this one has plenty, he promises. “The novel was expanded into a script within 15 days,” he adds. “Arivazhagan approached me saying that he liked it and that he has been reading my novels since his school and college days.”

Anyone who has even the remotest idea about Rajesh’s works will agree that his stories make for excellent movie adaptations, given their fast-paced narratives. “Presently, Kalaignar TV airs Chinnathirai Cinema, in which my stories are being adapted for the small screen. A new novel is picked every week,” he explains. He adds that more movies are in the offing — “Talks are on with directors Sarkunam, Vijay Milton, and C.V. Kumar, the producer of Iraivi.”

It has been 30 years since Rajesh started writing crime novels for G. Asokan, a Chennai-based publisher of pocket novels. “I continue to write for him,” he says. “I’ve written 450 novels for him. In fact, we have applied to Guinness World Records for the most number of novels written by a single writer for a publishing house,” he adds.

Rajesh refuses to slow down. “I’m getting old, but I feel younger every day,” he says with his trademark laugh.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 4:29:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/From-pocket-novels-to-films/article14628516.ece

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