OVER the last 40 years, Mills & Boon (M&B) characters have kissed each other over 20,000 times, shared about 30,000 hugs and headed for the altar at least 7,000 times. This is all Siddhartha M Jain needs to make super-hit films. Love is ‘on’ air, and Jain, Producer and CEO, iRock Films, is all set to re-ignite the feeling. “The idea is simple — to adapt M&B books for young love stories, and make films that are youth-centric,” says Jain. Yes, romance has been dominated by Yashraj on the silver screen, but he, at iRock, wants to offer something different. Passionate embraces, hungry kisses, steamy scenes, hot fantasies, desperate damsels, brooding men — the page turning love-lust novellas churned out by Harlequin M&B have been the pacemaker of the human heart for over a century now.
Inked in romance, the books have fuelled love stories on theatre and screen — small and big — and now, to reinvent romance in Hindi cinema, iRock is bringing it to India. “M&B is a brand that is universal. Everyone, in our generation, in our parents’ generation, men and women, have read it or know about it and associate it with love and romance.”
After making edgy films like Ragini MMS, iRock is looking to re-kindle passion in Indian films, and has closed the deal with Harlequin, publisher of M&B novels. “Such a deal opens up a big source of content, which has worked in India and abroad for decades, and can now be seen in movies,” says Jain, adding how Harlequin offers a wide range of reading from romance to bestseller fiction, from young adult novels to passionate literature, from nonfiction to fantasy and more. However, in all these years, M&B too, has redefined itself by adding genres such as erotica, nocturne bites, paranormal, thriller, suspense and historical.
Ask Jain whether iRock is ready to experiment with dark and sexy themes or whether the Indian audience is open to it, and he says yes. “My job is to experiment. We are starting with college romance, slightly adult kind of stories and horror genre. Also, teen romance in India is something like Ishq Vishq. We are getting stories with more edge and potential in M&B. As for the audience, they are ready,” he says. At present, iRock is making a youth-comedy titled Disco Valley, a chick-flick named Size Zero and vampire film Bloody Veer. On the M&B front, they have three out of 10 chosen books on board for adaptation. The films will roll out in the next 12 months.