In a recent announcement, the streaming giant Amazon Prime declared that they will launch a slate of 40 new titles in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu over the period of two years which will consist of original shows, movies and co-productions. The Village is one of the titles that will be released on the OTT platform. It is an adaptation of a graphic novel of the same name by Yali Dream Creations (YDC). The publication focuses on creating original content using comics and graphic novels to engage audiences across the globe and brings to life imaginative and original stories with a mix of horror, fantasy, sci-fi and mythology.
The publishing house was founded in 2012, and The Caravan was its first publication launched at the Comic Con 2013. In an exclusive interview with Animation Xpress.com, Yali Dream Creations founder Asvin Srivatsangam essentially talked about their graphic novel The Village, its adaptation into a series by Amazon Prime, and the overall process. He also shed some light on the future projects of YDC.
Asvin Srivatsangam said that The Hills Have Eyes movie series and Stephen King’s One for the Road were the major inspiration behind The Village. Talking about the audiences’ response to the graphic novel, he said, “The Village is the most well-rated graphic novel/property from Yali Dream Creations, and yet it is least discussed in the comic book communities. Maybe it is just one graphic novel (thus the recall value was not enough) or maybe we had a limited print run that sold off over a year ago.” Upon being asked if the novel was created keeping in mind a future possibility of its adaptation, he said, “Like all creators, we were hopeful that it would get adapted. You cannot plan everything, but you can only pursue them.”
According to Srivatsangam, he was at the right place, at the right time with the right amount of dedication and attitude to make The Village into a series within five years of being published. He said that it was not easy and, if it were easy then many graphic novels and comic books in India would have seen live adaptation. Divulging into his collaboration with director Milind Rau to adapt The Village into web series, he disclosed that he approached director Milind Rau a couple of months after the release of the novel between December 2017 and mid-2018, and they were forseeing the adaptation in a movie format. But, when Amazon Prime came on board, the dynamics changed and The Village was seen as an Amazon Original series. The creators are planning to release six episodes in season one.
Srivatsangam believes that this move of adapting a graphic novel into a web series would be a game changer, and people, readers, studios, directors, and genre fans would start looking at the comic book industry with more seriousness. Getting into the creation process of the series, Srivatsangam revealed about the screenplay of The Village series. He said that there are always going to be challenges when a medium is changed from one to another. The central problem for them was to convert a 130-page graphic novel into a series of six episodes. Even though there wasn’t much source material, he said Rau and his team took up the challenge and have aced it.
“Yali Dream Creations was primarily involved in working on the source material / graphic novel. However, the journey of talking to the director (Milind Rau), and then talking to the studios was the process we were involved in. Amazon fell in love with the source material in the first look. The paperwork with Amazon took nearly eight to nine months. The actual conversation with Amazon started in April 2019. And now we have a series that is ready to see a release in early 2023. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who lacks patience and perseverance,” said Srivatsangam while commenting on the overall creation process of a series out of a graphic novel.
The series is led by Tamil star Arya, who is known for his dedication and commitment to his roles. His work is a testament to that. They have other interesting stars like Divya Pillai, Aazhiya, Aadukalam Naren, Thalaivasal Vijay, Muthukumar, Kalai Raani, George M, John Kokken, Arjun Chidambaram, Pooja, Jayaprakash and P N Sunny, and they have been ‘lucky to have them’, said the founder of YDC.
After this deal, YDC will continue to have the right to print and reprint the book and they can come up with sequels for the story in the form of comic books, but Amazon has acquired rights over all other mediums. As a studio, Amazon owns all the rights to the property. As a result of this deal, Srivatsangam hopes that Amazon gets more subscribers from genre fans as well as Tamil speaking people across the globe. Studio Shakti is producing the series and Srivatsangam believes that they are surely earning a name for themself by working on The Village along with Amazon Studios. He added that YDC does not have a role in the filming process and they are not privy to the process.
Post the announcement of the web series and star cast a huge demand was created to print the book in other Indian languages. The publisher is working on the logistics of it and hopes to make the book available at popular online stores, although they have not worked out the pricing. Commenting on the previously announced projects which are also getting adapted for the silver screen, like Rakshak and The Caravan, he said that the publishing house will hopefully have some news to share later this year or in early 2023.
In the end, Srivatsangam talked about the future projects of Yali Dream Creations. Following are the upcoming projects :
- Codename Alpha books 2 and 3
- Rakshak Crackdown books 2 and 3
- They are partnering with Pratillipi on a comic book series called The Last Guardian
- They are also working with them to convert their property into a web series.
The publishers are in the early stage of talks with a studio for The Caravan. They are working on many more projects which they cannot comment on.