Despite being a third-generation hotelier and not really an avid reader during childhood, Akshat Gupta, who has written five film scripts, and is the author of the forthcoming book ‘The Hidden Hindu’, the first of the trilogy that is set to be published in English (Penguin Random House India) and Hindi simultaneously, admits that writing has been a companion during the most trying times.
“A personal event in 2014 shattered me completely, and it was writing that gave me solace,” says Gupta, the first Indian author to have given the visual rights (to Dhoni Entertainment) of a trilogy before the launch and release of the book.
‘The Hidden Hindu’ is a story of an Aghori named Om Shastri who is being interrogated by seven experts. He is hypnotized and, under narco test, reveals some startling facts.
Attributing the popularity of mythology books in the past decade and a half to the fact that most Indians have grown up either listening to these stories from our grandparents or watching them on television, he says, “Let us admit, it is our mythology and culture that has global interest and binds all our generations – past, present and future. We are attracted to them as we connect to them much before any exposure to any ‘heroes’ — fictional or real.”
In fact, the book is the first part of the trilogy, the second and third of which are already completed. “It has been a rigorous and enchanting journey. I spent six years researching and writing the first part,” says the author.
Confident that the visual representation will do full justice to his written word, Gupta says he is optimistic that what will appear on the screen will be close to what he has imagined. “We are on the same wavelength. Of course, I wish to be part of the screenwriting process as I have some written screenplays of several films.”
He feels that while writing is all about thinking, screenwriting and writing a book have one key difference — limitation. “While the former is constrained by duration and budget, the latter allows you all the freedom of imagination.”
Adding that the OTT boom has been a blessing for writers, he says, “The content on digital platforms is breaking all boundaries, and new ideas are encouraged. There is certain acceptability towards novelty,” he concludes.