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‘The Night Manager’ Team Reveals More John le Carré India Adaptations, Celebrates Series Success

As Seen In Variety - 18 July 2023

Published: 14 Aug 2023

After the success of the Indian version of “The Night Manager,” The Ink Factory is planning further Indian adaptations of John le Carré novels.

Produced by The Ink Factory and Banijay Asia, the Hindi-language series created and directed by Sandeep Modi and headlined by Anil Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur, emerged as the most watched series ever across all Hotstar specials on Indian streamer Disney+ Hotstar.

One of the most renowned writers in the espionage genre, le Carré, who died in 2020, left behind a legacy of 25 novels, managed by The Ink Factory. They have spawned numerous adaptations, including an English-language “The Night Manager” from BBC/AMC in 2016.

The Ink Factory executive producer Tessa Inkelaar, who oversees the company’s Asia slate, told Variety, “We are in the process of adapting one, which is in a relatively late stage of adaptation and one, which is at an early stage. We’re very keen to bring more le Carré to India.”

The titles are under wraps at the moment. Simon Cornwell, co-founder and co-CEO of The Ink Factory, told Variety, “We’ve found an approach to telling the story, which is really fresh and really contemporary, and it brings something very special. There are many ways in which the Indian adaptation of ‘The Night Manager’ moved beyond the original show, and Sandeep explored areas that we hadn’t explored or hadn’t figured out in the English-language series. And that was a thrilling process. It’s something we can push even further. This one particular story really takes wing, because it’s reset in India, on the fringes of India. It’s a very powerful piece of storytelling.”

“Part of our bigger ambition is to find stories that we can tell in India that speak to people all around the world,” Cornwell added.

Meanwhile, the team is delighted with the massive success of “The Night Manager” in India. Modi, who previously co-created “Penoza” adaptation “Aarya” for Disney+ Hotstar, acknowledges the immense contribution of his co-writer Shridhar Raghavan, who is a le Carré scholar.

“The trick to any story, whether it is ‘Aarya’ or ‘The Night Manager’ is to see how do you take a story, a structure, like a seed that you plant in the Indian soil and see how it grows by itself. How do you make it feel like this story belongs to the land. That was the biggest challenge. And we took the longest time to arrive at the basis of the adaptation, the cultural nuance and the emotional nuances,” Modi told Variety. Modi and Raghavan also updated the story for contemporary, post-pandemic times, bearing in mind that the original novel was published in 1993.

“We had to adapt to it and understand the current times of not just India, but Asia, that we can capture in this wonderful story. Once we had that the characters led the way and whenever in doubt, we had the great book to fall back on,” Modi said. “It was a tricky one to get right, but the ‘Aarya’ experience definitely helped.”

The series is mounted on a grand scale and shot across Sri Lanka, India, the Middle East and Bangladesh. Inkelaar said that the intention was to maintain the aspirational feel of the original novel. “We wanted it to feel escapist. We wanted people to go on a huge journey with the storytelling and with the characters,” Inkelaar said.

[SPOILER ALERT] Most of the principal characters remain alive in the Indian “The Night Manager,” leaving the door open for future seasons. Cornwell says that it is a decision that Disney+ Hotstar has to take.

“We would love to do a second season,” Cornwell said. “There are lots of ideas bubbling around where the story goes from here. We have such a fabulous world, such a fabulous cast, what fun it would be to do a second season.”

“While I’m extremely tempted, because of the humongous response and popularity and love for the show, to keep thinking of it, I don’t want to get ahead of myself, I will say it is a decision which is best taken by Simon and everyone at Ink. They are not just the door keepers, they are the keepers of the le Carré legacy and it has to be in line with what is the le Carré spirit,” Modi added.