Pankaj Dubey, the Indian author, is set to turn director and helm a feature film based on his book What a Loser!

Producer Mahaveer Jain has acquired the rights for the book and scripting is currently underway.

Talking to Silverscreen India, Dubey says a film adaptation of the book, his debut novel, was always on his mind. The author is working on adapting the novel into a screenplay in collaboration with Gautam Ved.

What a Loser! is a fiction based on a guy who studies in Delhi University’s north campus. “The book talks about the conflict of identity of a small towner coming to a metropolitan,” says Dubey.

The book, which was originally published in 2013 by Penguin, is partly autobiographical, adds Dubey. “Basically a satire, the book talks about the socio, cultural and political issues of the time. The climax will be changed in the film but the feeling of the characters and the basic emotions will remain the same. Some characters might get cut off, some might get added. I am open to adjusting the script according to the current times while still being true to the book.”

Previously a journalist with the BBC, Dubey, who is a bilingual novelist, calls himself a “storytelling practitioner” in different forms.

The author, who has previously directed the short film Maratha Mandir Theatre (2018), which starred Swanand Kirkire and Sarika, believes cinema is a means to reach a larger audience. “I strongly feel that if a book is adapted into a film, the story gets a chance to reach out to a bigger audience. Because of the busy lives these days, fewer people read books. With the advent of OTT platforms, there is now a great opportunity for writers to produce stories that can be adapted to films and series.”

His other book Ishqiyapa has been acquired by producer Ekta Kapoor for a web series on the AltBalaji platform. “Other production houses have approached me for acquiring other books as well and I might direct some of these too,” he reveals.

Penguin’s synopsis of What a Loser! reads: “Pandey Anil Kumar Sinha (PAKS) comes to Delhi with precisely three things: One, his jaded old trunk full of sattu and achaar; two, a borrowed dream of becoming an IAS officer from his clerk father; and three, to sleep with a milky white Punjabi girl. However, PAKS’ goals begin to change when he falls in love, enrols for English classes, and finds cool friends. Then suddenly, he is pushed to the forefront of college elections and he becomes a hero!”

The adaptation’s scripting will take a couple of more months and Dubey says he plans to shoot the film next year. However, he has no actor in mind as yet.