Express News Service

Ever since the 28-year-old author Anirudh Kanisetti wrote his debut book Lords of the Deccan: Southern India from Chalukyas to Cholas, he has been on a roll: from the book’s rising popularity to receiving many coveted awards like the Yuva Puraskar by Sahitya Akademi. Recently, Kanisetti added yet another feather to his already heavily-quilled cap after the popular actor and producer Rana Daggubati announced the OTT adaptation of Lords of the Deccan. The upcoming historical drama series will be produced in association with Daggubati’s Spirit Media and Sony LIV.

Kanisetti was absolutely elated when he got the news. “This has been an absolute dream. Rana was actually the chief guest at my 10th-grade farewell many years ago. So when my editor called me up and said that he was interested, it felt like things were coming full circle,” he shares.

Rana Daggubati

The OTT production has been announced in Telugu. Kanisetti adds, “Considering that it is going to be made by South Indians about South India’s history, I really hope that we will be able to do some justice to the lives of our ancestors. But I also hope that more languages can be incorporated as I firmly believe that all parts of India belong to all of us, and we should all seek to understand India’s past.”

Daggubati is a household name in the Indian film fraternity and to the popular public historian, the whole affair was a bit intimidating in the beginning. “My mother has always been a big fan of Rana. So, it was a bit intimidating, but when the project started, it ran at such an exciting pace that I didn’t have the time to sink in the fact that I was working with someone I had watched on the big screen. On top of that, Rana was also very humble throughout the process and was always open to hearing my ideas,” he says. Daggubati made the first announcement of the show at the San Diego Comic-Con.

 Usually, when a book is adapted to a show or a film, the script takes some radical changes because of the need to adjust to a more visual medium. But Kanisetti feels that it didn’t happen in this case as he has already written the book in a visual manner. “When my editor and I were editing the book, we understood that our competition was not just other history books but also OTT services. We were in the business of competing for people’s attention. So I wrote the book in a very visual manner. I don’t believe that history should be boiled to only facts and figures but should instead give readers a sense of the vivid, colourful and dynamic times the world was during then,” he concludes.  

Recently, with films like Ponniyin Selvan, much-needed mainstream light has been put on the history of southern India. Kanisetti hopes Lords of the Deccan’s adaptation further contributes to that. “I really hope it brings more light to the history of South India, but I also hope people take notice of the histories of other regions, especially the largely-neglected ones like the northeast and Odisha, for example. I’m really hoping that there is much curiosity about different regions and histories, which peaks the curiosity of not just publishers and writers, but also producers, filmmakers and artists,” he concludes, mentioning that he is presently working on a book, a new history of the Chola world, which he hopes will be out next year. 

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