Synchronicity Films and Dragonet Films are co-developing a six-hour adaptation of Shankari Chandran’s novel Song of the Sun God.
Screenwriter Olivia Hetreed (Girl with a Pearl) has come on board to write the adaptation. Chandran will serve as story consultant for the series.
Song of the Sun God is a family saga that brings to light an untold story of conflict and the crimes committed in Sri Lanka, by both Tamils and Sinhalese during the country’s two-decade-long civil war. The novel tells the story across three generations, beginning in 1948 when the country gained independence, and through to the present day, from Ceylon to England and Australia.
Chandran said: “Song of the Sun God is based in Sri Lanka, but its story does not belong to Sri Lanka. It belongs to all those who are forced by war, to leave one home and create another. It belongs to all the countries and communities who receive the dispossessed and can choose the politics of fear or the politics of compassion. It belongs to my family, but also yours. It was vital to me to collaborate with a screenwriter who could stand where I stand, and tell of other worlds that are orientated around a different but equally important center of gravity. Olivia Hetreed’s exceptional writing and her lived experience give her that deep empathy and insight. Together, we honor the cultural authenticity of my novel whilst highlighting the universality of the piece.”
Claire Mundell, managing director and creative director of Synchronicity, said: “We are passionate about telling distinctive and relevant stories with a social conscience and global appeal. Shankari Chandran’s Song of the Sun God is a poignant, timely and deeply moving story of a conflict largely unexplored on screen, and in this case as seen through the prism of one family. We are genuinely thrilled to have someone of Olivia’s caliber on board and to be working with Karen at Dragonet to adapt this impactful and emotionally devastating novel.”
Karen Radzyner, partner and executive producer at Dragonet Films, added: “When we found Shankari’s breathtaking novel, Song of the Sun God, it was immediately clear that it provided a rare, globally incisive, deeply personal insight into the complex and little known truths behind the Sri Lankan civil war and the diaspora. The power of the book is not only in the intimacy with which it handles big, topical themes of prejudice and belonging, but in the laughter and tears it generates in the reader, never looking away, yet transporting us on a journey of hope with characters with whom we quickly fall deeply in love. Together with Claire Mundell, we relish teaming Olivia Hetreed’s world-class talent with Shankari Chandran’s stellar storytelling.”