Shekhar Kapur, Mel Gibson ideal for my work: 'Rozabal Line' writer

Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 3:20pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Ashwin Sanghi says his book, published by Westland Limited, is not a story about Jesus Christ surviving the crucifixion and travelling to Kashmir.

Ashwin Sanghi's "The Rozabal Line", a thriller swirling between continents and centuries, is being converted into a screenplay and the writer wants filmmakers like Ron Howard, Shekhar Kapur or Mel Gibson to deal with his work.

"The book is being converted into a screenplay. The novel is also being translated into Hindi, Turkish and Spanish. Ideally, directors such as Ron Howard, Shekhar Kapur or Mel Gibson are individuals that have tackled such historical, religious genres before and I would consider myself very lucky if one of them were to look at it," says Sanghi, an entrepreneur by profession.

In strife-torn Kashmir, a tomb called Rozabal holds the key to a riddle that arises in Jerusalem and gets answered at Vaishno Devi. In "The Rozabal Line", Sanghi traces a pattern that curls backward to the violent birth of religion itself.

Sanghi says his book, published by Westland Limited, is not a story about Jesus Christ surviving the crucifixion and travelling to Kashmir.

"It is a story about how human beliefs and ideas have been freely borrowed, absorbed and assimilated down the ages, and how such inter-faith borrowing has shaped our ideas and beliefs in the present day," the Mumbai-based writer said.

His parents used to take him for holidays to Kashmir during the seventies.

"As a child, however, I did not fully understand the significance of the tomb. It was only in 1999 that the very notion that Jesus may have left behind a bloodline came to my attention when I read ‘Holy Blood Holy Grail’. Later, I read Holger Kersten’s books and was fascinated with the idea that Jesus could have been inspired by Buddhism and India," says Sanghi.

He read a lot of books to explore the possibility of Jesus surviving the crucifixion and travelling to India to reunite with the lost tribes of Israel who had settled in Kashmir.

"In all, I read around 40 books during this time besides scouring the Internet for any information that I could possibly find. I started writing ‘The Rozabal Line’ in 2005 and finished it eighteen months later," he says.

On being often compared to Dan Brown, he says, "There is a precise Dan Brown formula: provide a hook to the early chapter that becomes the central thriller plot, with its one character facing challenges, the main character winning (or at least partially winning) and a satisfying resolution for the readers a la Dan Brown," he says.

"My aim, on the other hand, was to not merely provide a story but also to explore the ancient connectivity between world faiths. If that meant that I had to compromise the formula, so be it."

Much of the material that forms the backdrop of the novel existed in various forms much before Sanghi got down to writing the book.

"My effort was to take the material that was present in various forgotten works, documents and research papers and find out whether there were linkages between such material that could be explored. My intention was to present this newly aggregated information in the form of a fictional story that would be easier to absorb and enjoy," he says.

His second novel, which, he says, is a modern-day thriller that uses a backdrop of politics and history, is under editing and is likely to be released by January 2011.

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