EXCLUSIVE: Endemol Shina India is lining up a web series based on Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy’s book Trial By Fire:The Tragic Tale Of The Uphaar Fire Tragedy.
The book is an account of the Uphaar cinema fire in Delhi in 1997, which resulted in the deaths of 59 people and injured 100 more. Injured survivors and the families of the deceased went on to form a group which filed a landmark civil compensation case against the cinema owners. Writers Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy fought for justice for 19 years for their children, Unnati and Ujjwal, who were among those to perish in the fire.
The series will be helmed by Prashant Nair, whose 2015 film Umrika is the only Indian feature to win an award at Sundance, and who most recently directed Amazon Hindi-language series Made In Heaven.
Mumbai-based outfit The Story Ink put the project together and its founder Sidharth Jain will be a producer on the series.
Abhishek Rege, CEO, Endemol Shine India, said, “We at Endemol Shine India are always on the lookout for stories and characters that will touch an audience at its core. At the heart of this story is the Krishnamoorthys’ determination to fight in memory of their children and lays bare their personal loss and struggle for closure. The loss of a child and the anguish of the parents who are fighting for justice on behalf of their children are difficult emotions and Prashant Nair was the perfect choice to bring this authentic, sensitive and hard-hitting real-life tragedy to screen.”
Nair added, “The premise of this book is every parent’s worst nightmare. Fifty-nine people lost their lives that day because the institutions we rely on for our safety and well-being every day failed across the board. The Krishnamoorthys’ wrote their book because they wanted to make sure this never happens again and I’m honored they and Endemol Shine have entrusted me with the responsibility of bringing this devastating story to screen.”
Authors and parents Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy commented, “When we first met Sidharth for taking our story to screen, we were certain that he would find the right team to tell this story. We look forward to collaborating with Endemol Shine India, The Story Ink and Prashant for bringing to screen our two-decade old battle. We hope that this series is an apt ode to our children and the fifty-seven other victims, as it brings to light to a wider audience the horror of the Uphaar cinema fire and our struggle for justice.”
Endemol Shine India is currently in production on drama series Bombay Begums, to be written and directed by Alankrita Shrivastava for Netflix India. The company is also joining forces with Shekhar Kapur and Tiger Aspect to develop The Ibis Trilogy for the international market.
The group generates more than 800 hours of local programming annually. Since launch in 2006, the company has launched hit local versions of shows Bigg Boss (Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Malayalam and Bangla), Fear Factor, MasterChef India, The Voice India, The Voice India Kids, The Money Drop and Deal Or No Deal for Sun Network.
Indian drama firm The Story Ink has at least ten co-productions in the pipeline, and has been across 75 book to screen adaptation deals in the last 18 months. In 2020, it will launch its own IP development fund.
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