After a disastrous Hello (based on One Night @ The Call Centre) and a record-breaker 3 Idiots (inspired by Five Point Someone), yet another Chetan Bhagat bestseller is being turned into a movie. Director Siddharth Anand’s next for producer Sajid Nadiadwala is based on Two States and will star Saif Ali Khan and Priyanka Chopra.
Interestingly, it was Yash Raj Film’s boss Aditya Chopra who suggested the idea to Anand. The duo previously worked together on Salaam Namaste, Ta Ra Rum Pum and Bachna Ae Haseeno, before Anand ventured out on his own with the recently released Priyanka-Ranbir starrer Anjaana Anjaani. Recalling his meeting with Chopra, the director says, “Adi said that I must read Two States, as he felt that I’d be the right person to make a film on it. Since he was so insistent, I bought the book and read it the same day.”
For someone who’s not a voracious reader by his own admission, Anand was so enthused by the book that he contacted the author the following morning. “When we met, Chetan told me that I was amongst the couple of directors he felt would do justice to the story,” he says, adding that he informed Nadiadwala and Khan about these developments after.
Considering that his lead actor liked the story, the producer completed the formalities of acquiring the rights to the book to make it into a film. However, when asked about the price for the rights, Anand clams up, saying, “Chetan got what he asked for, in terms of money and the credit.”
The director asserts that he’ll be reworking the screenplay. “The book is not the screenplay. We’ll incorporate the necessary changes for the kind of structure I have in mind. But we’ll keep the basic soul of the book intact so that people who have read it will connect to it. We’ll also add some novel elements so that it engages readers and film-goers alike,” says Anand, who is yet to title his movie.
Talking of Bhagat’s role in script development, the director maintains that the author will be involved to a certain degree. “We’ll be spending time together so that I understand the characters and their nuances better,” says Anand.
Since the story of Two States takes place in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Chennai and Goa, Anand concedes that he’ll also be shooting in these cities. Author Chetan Bhagat confirms the developments: “Yes, I was happy to meet Anand. He has the right sensibilities. Whatever additions he will make, will enhance the film.”
Bhagat also tweeted about the development a couple of hours earlier and wrote: “2 states film deal done. Produced by sajid nadiadwala. Directed by siddharth anand. Saif as krish. Shooting early next year. They’ve promised a big family entertainer. Very excited. Thanks for ur support (sic).”
He adds that there will be no issues in regards to credit, as it has been sorted.