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Filmmaker Deepa Mehta to Write and Direct Film Adaptation of Avni Doshi’s Debut Novel ‘Burnt Sugar’

Filmmaker Deepa Mehta to Write and Direct Film Adaptation of Avni Doshi’s Debut Novel ‘Burnt Sugar’

  • The 2020 Booker Prize-shortlisted novel by the U.S.-born and Dubai-based author will also be adapted for the London stage.

Academy Award-nominated Indian-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta is set to write and direct the film adaptation of U.S.-born and Dubai-based Avni Doshi’s bestselling novel “Burnt Sugar.” It will be produced by Ben Silverman’s Propagate Content, according to a report in Deadline. This is Doshi’s debut book. A London stage adaptation of the novel for 2023 is also in the works, the Deadline report added.

The novel revolves around Antara and her mother Tara, and how the daughter copes with the reality of her mother’s memory loss. While the two have had a difficult relationship, Antara now has no idea how to care for her mother.


“Depicting complicated human connections are what drive most of my projects and I look forward to delving into the complex, layered and at times surprisingly dark mother-daughter relationship that is so shockingly illustrated in this novel,” Mehta said in a statement according to Deadline. “‘Burnt Sugar’ is often sprinkled with razor-sharp humor and it’s an unexpected take on the old-as-time relationship left me gasping,” she continued. “It grabbed me from its first sentence and I couldn’t say yes fast enough when I was asked to bring the vision to the screen.”

“Burnt Sugar,” Doshi’s debut novel, was shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize and longlisted for the 2021 Women’s Prize. Booker said in a statement at the time that “Burnt Sugar” is a love story as well as a story about betrayal, not between lovers but between mother and daughter. “Sharp as a blade and laced with caustic wit, Doshi tests the limits of what we can know for certain about those we are closest to, and by extension, about ourselves.”

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The book was released in 2019 in India as “The Girl in White Cotton.” Published by Penguin Random House. Doshi told The National that it took seven years and eight drafts before the novel saw the light of day. “Getting the book out into the world ended up being a longer and more complicated process than I imagined,” she told the National. “The journey has been long and difficult, to say the least.”

Mehta has previously helmed book adaptations such as Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children” and “Funny Boy,” by Sri Lankan-Canadian author Shyam Selvadurai. She is well known for and is known for the trilogy “Fire,” “Earth” and “Water.” For TV, she directed the pilot for the acclaimed Apple series “Little America” and Showtime’s upcoming “Yellowjackets.”

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