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‘Basis of romance is friction and denial… Rom-coms use Jane Austen’s template now’


Sometimes the idea for a book can come from a stranger on the street or a painting one acquires, points out author Deborah Moggach. But the idea for her 2004 book These Foolish Things, which would later be adapted into the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, came from a question, she told author Jaishree Misra at the Times LitFest. “What’s going to happen to us all when we get older, because there is not going to be enough money to take care of us because we live so long? I decided to outsource the elderly to lovely India which is so cheap, warm, welcoming and respectful of the elderly. It’s a great deal better than they are treated in England,” says Moggach.

Moggach, whose new book is a page-turner called Black Dress, was also the screenwriter behind the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. She credits the realism of the movie for its success. “Plus, Austen understood that the basis of romance is friction and denial. It is the template for rom-coms now,” she says. Her experiences with film adaptations have been mixed – her book Tulip Fever was adapted into a movie which never hit the screens because it was produced by Harvey Weinstein and was released just as the accusations against him came out.

She also revealed that The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel will now be adapted into a stage play in London. “You’re the first person I’ve told, it just happened,” she told Misra. “We’re looking for a cast and will hopefully tour it next year.”



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