‘Filmic’ writer Roberts on Shantaram


Gregory David Roberts, author of the bestseller Shantaram that is now being made into a movie by director Mira Nair, says he always knew his autobiographical novel would be adapted into a film.

“It feels great that my novel is now adapted into a film. However, I always knew it would happen because I am a filmic writer,” Roberts said. “I mean, when I write, I write with images in mind. In fact, with the advent of cinema all writers do that now, contrary to the past when it (cinema) wasn’t there,” said the Australia born author, who speaks Hindi as fluently as he speaks English.

The film of the same name stars Amitabh Bach-chan and Johnny Depp. It narrates the story of a convicted Australian bank robber and heroin addict who escapes from prison and flees to India, where he lives for 10 years.

And the wizard of words is all praise for Depp and Big B. “What could have been better than Hollywood bigwig Johnny Depp being a part of the film. I have met Depp and, apart from being a great actor, he is a wonderful person. One must see how he adores his kids. He is an amazing father.

“And Amitabhji is not only Bollywood’s but the world’s greatest actor... more than that he is an icon. Only a handful of people across the globe enjoy the position he does. Both the actors are larger than the parts they play in movies. So many people around the world learn so much from them. Also, I am an ardent fan of Nana Patekar. He is a fantastic actor. When I met him I touched his feet. He is just great.”

He said, “I love Bollywood films! It doesn’t matter whether you watch them on DVDs, CDs, on television or in a theatre — they are full entertainers. You sit with a popcorn tub, some bhel-puri, sevpuri, order some paneer paranthas, yellow dal and when the film ends, your mind and tummy both are full,” added Roberts, a vegetarian who loves “spicy” Indian food.