‘India’s rich history was a source of inspiration for Kaalkoot’

 ‘India’s rich history was a source of inspiration for Kaalkoot’

Author S Venkatesh’s debut book enters book-to-screen adaptation deal

Saurabh Tankha

Acclaimed for its combination of conspiracy, history, mythology and science, Amazon #1 bestselling thriller last year, KaalKoot – The Lost Himalayan Secret, has entered into a book-to-screen adaptation optioning deal with a Hindi film producer. Penned by debutant author S Venkatesh, KaalKoot has loads of twists and turns that are peppered with mythology. According to Hindu mythology, Kaalkoot was the poison found from the sea when devas and asuras churned it to obtain amrit.

Venkatesh has had a 22-year corporate career, where he has held senior roles with Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and Macquarie, and has been on the Boards of many companies. In an e-mail interaction with www.lifeandmore.in, he talks about the decision to pen this fictional work, his next book and the role of his parents in inculcating the habit of reading…

KaalKoot has entered into a book-to-screen adaptation option deal. Your reactions.
I am quite thrilled, naturally. Many readers have remarked that the pace and characters, as well as the interplay of places and time in the book, lend themselves to a screen adaptation. So it feels good to see KaalKoot progress along that journey.

How does the process work – do authors approach the film guys, do agents come in or is it a director, a producer or an actor reads a book, likes it and wants it to be adapted on the screen? How was it in your case?
I was approached by a few producers who felt the book had potential for a screen adaptation. I, along with my publisher TreeShade Books and advisor, The Story Ink, decided to go ahead with the producers who we felt best understood the spirit of the story and the characters.

How and when did you decide on penning this book?
I have had the desire to write for a while now but I spent many years in the adrenaline driven world of investments — with Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and Macquarie — and had not been able to find the time and mind-space to focus on writing. I would write on the odd day when I would feel inspired, but like the line from the Pink Floyd song, the problem with getting inspiration in the middle of a busy workday is that I would “turn to look but it was gone”.
A few years ago, I was travelling a fair bit on business, and it was on those flights, free from distractions like phone calls and emails, that I found the space to listen to my inner voice and act on the creative instinct. That is how KaalKoot began.
A number of threads of inspiration came together to culminate in the book. I was inspired by travel, so places form an important backdrop in the book, as the plot starts from the crowded by-lanes of Mumbai and culminates in the Himalayas. Our rich history was a source of inspiration too, and the plot contains an important connect to the freedom struggle. Lastly, I have been influenced by Eastern philosophy from my college days, and this reflects in a subtle spiritual undertone in various parts of the book.


How much time did it take you to complete the book?
Writing the first draft took a little over two years, but after that, I spent a fair bit of time revising certain portions and polishing up the story. Initially, I would wait for inspiration to strike before picking up the pen (or laptop!), but that meant that my writing would be intermittent. Over time, I realised that inspiration strikes more readily if you are disciplined and regular with writing, so I am able to write much faster now.

You are a private equity investor, an executive coach, a business leader, an entrepreneur and of course, an author. Which of these roles is the closest to your heart and why?
Each of these roles gives expression to different aspects of my personality. My corporate pursuits enable me to use my skills and experience to advise entrepreneurs and help businesses grow. As a speaker, I share my insights and learnings with a wider audience. But I must say that it is most gratifying to write – the sheer joy of creating a story from scratch is exhilarating!

Will you like to share some details about your next one, Agnibaan – Guardians of the Fire Chamber and when will it be ready for release?
Agnibaan – Guardians of the Fire Chamber should be released in a few months. It is a thriller set in today’s world, with a strong scientific underpinning and a connection to certain strange events that happened over a thousand years ago.

Share something about your parents and early part of life…
My parents encouraged me to read from a young age, and books would transport me to a different world of my imagination. That sense of joy and wonder has stayed with me to this day, and helps me craft my stories. I also had the fortune of living in places as diverse as Tanzania, Farakka (a town in West Bengal) and Delhi, during my childhood years. Travel continues to remain a major source of inspiration for me, and locales form an important part of the backdrop and mood creation in my stories.


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