MUMBAI — Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke has revealed plans to produce a film based on “Journey to the West,” based on the classic 16th century novel by Wu Cheng’en. “The West here refers to India,” said Jia.
In the novel, Tang dynasty Buddhist monk Xuanzang visits Central Asia and India. “In the story there is a segment where the monk visits a country populated only by women, we will be covering that part,” said Jia. “Maybe we will collaborate with India, as the story is connected with the country,” Jia said.
Jia will produce via his Fabula Entertainment production outfit alongside the Shanghai Film Group Corporation.
The book has seen numerous film and television adaptations over the years with the latest being Tsui Hark’s upcoming “Journey to the West: Demon Chapter” that is a sequel to Stephen Chow’s 2013 film “Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons”.
Jia had announced a martial arts project in February in association with Media Asia. The film is currently being cast. He had also announced a virtual reality short in June. That is now being expanded to feature length. “It is a romance between Chinese youngsters,” Jia said.
Jia is in India for the Mumbai Film Festival where he will be conferred an “excellence in cinema” award and will deliver a masterclass. It is his first visit to the country and he says that he is deeply influenced by the socialism in Raj Kapoor’s 1951 classic “Awaara.”