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India’s ‘Pilgrims’ Thriller Heading for Film Adaptation

Singapore firms, Aurora Media and Darpan Global have teamed to set up best-selling Indian novel “Pilgrims in the Dark” (“Timirpanthi”) as a feature film. The companies previously optioned film rights to the Gujurati-language novel by Dhruv Bhatt.

Award-winning playwright and director Dakxin Bajrange is now attached to direct the thriller from a screenplay written by Jay Bhatt (no relation). Casting is under way, ahead of an anticipated shoot from the third quarter of next year.

With a strong female protagonist, the highly researched-story details how certain tribes viewed stealing not as a crime but as a transcendental and inherited art form. It also delves into tribal youths’ struggle to enter mainstream society.

It is anticipated that the film will be structured as a Singapore-India co-production, involving Aurora, Darpan and the director’s company Nomad Pictures. Additionally, the producers aim to bring on board an Indian studio, which would handle Indian deals, while Aurora and Darpan co-finance and deal with the international elements.

“The film is based around Sati, the female protagonist and her struggle to set up a school in her community, which leads us to her unseen world where thieving is their livelihood and an art. This will be an interesting yet entertaining realistic fiction film discussing an important untouched issue of colonial impact on the lives of certain tribes, the police brutality that they face, and their struggle to bring the change within,” said Bajrange.

Darpan is currently in production for “Bodh,” directed by Niloy Roy and slated to be completed in 2019. Aurora, which does development finance and production, is currently involved with Indonesia’s “Abracadabra” with Reza Rahadian; “Storm Boy” with Geoffrey Rush and Jai Courtney, and “Stano” starring Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello. Its “The Long Walk” directed by Mattie Do, is currently in post-production and will be presented as a work in progress at next week’s International Film Festival and Awards Macao.

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