Gulzar adapting Premchand for TV

Literary adaptations seem to be the order of the day.

After Bimal Mitra's "Sahib Bibi Ghulam", it is time for master adaptor Gulzar to bring alive Premchand on TV.

"The series will be called 'Tehreer...Munshi Premchand Ki'" (or Writings of Munshi Premchand), explained the irrepressible poet-filmmaker, back in Mumbai after the shooting.

The serial will feature "Godaan", or Gift of a Cow, and "Nirmala".

"Godaan" will be in two parts of feature-film length each while "Nirmala" will be in one part.

"My version of 'Godaan' stars Pankaj Kapur and Surekha Sikri. Pankaj needs no recommendation. But Surekha is phenomenal. The series will conclude with Nirmala," said Gulzar.

Eighty percent of the actors in the series are from New Delhi's National School of Drama.

State broadcaster Doordarshan will feature the series in June.

Filmmakers might only now be discovering the richness of Indian literature but Gulzar has constantly sought cinematic sustenance from the medium.

"It's heartening to see our cinema has come full circle. We've gone back to our literary antecedents. How long could we survive on borrowed creativity?"

The other piece of good news is that "Tehreer..." has whetted Gulzar's appetite for the camera and he is ready to start another feature film.

"After a long gap - my last film was 'Hu-tu-tu' - the Premchand series whetted my appetite for the camera. Hopefully, I'd start my film this year. I can't give out details right now.

"And if you ask me whether it'll star Tabu, I'll hide behind the sofa. But it will be based on a literary work, that's for sure. I don't want to move away from my literary antecedents."

"Tehreer..." will be Gulzar's third major foray into TV after the spectacular success of "Ghalib", the well-known Urdu poet, and the short-story-based "Kirdaar" (Character).