The Immortal King Rao Optioned for TV Adaptation


Global independent studio wiip has optioned The Immortal King Rao by journalist Vauhini Vara, former business editor of The New Yorker.

The novel follows an Indian entrepreneur who rises to become the most accomplished tech CEO in the world and eventually the leader of a corporate-led government. Later, his daughter reckons with his legacy through access to his memories, from growing up on a Dalit coconut farm to migrating to the U.S. and changing the world.

From 2004 to 2013, Vara was a reporter at the Wall Street Journal. She is now a contributing writer at Wired and has also written and edited for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic and more. The Immortal King Rao was her first novel.

Playwright and screenwriter Madhuri Shekar (Evil Eye, Sister Act 3, The Three Body Problem) is adapting the story for television and will executive produce alongside Vara and wiip’s Paul Lee, Josh Stern and Gabe Fisher, as well as Inimitable Pictures’ Nimitt Mankad and Lenore Entertainment’s Adam Berkowitz.

“We’re thrilled that Vauhini has entrusted us with this riveting, visionary global thriller, and we couldn’t be more excited about Madhuri adapting,” Stern said. “We’ve been fans of Madhuri’s for years—as soon as we read the novel, we knew it would be great in her hands.”

Mankad commented, “With the intimacy of a father and daughter story, Vauhini has created a genre-exploding masterpiece with rich, messy characters who are as layered and unforgettable as her prophetic vision of the future. wiip is an extraordinary partner, and I’m simply over the moon to have Madhuri adapting this groundbreaking new series.”

“I worked on this novel for 13 years, during which I often fantasized about the on-screen version I’d get to watch one day: how big and dramatic and genre-twisty I imagined it would be,” Vara said. “That this is actually on its way to happening—and with a dream team of colleagues whose work I so admire, including the visionary Madhuri Shekar at the writing helm—could not be more exciting.”

Shekar added, “I’m beyond excited to help bring Vauhini’s audacious novel to television. This is a story that tackles climate change, late-stage capitalism and the surveillance state through a beautifully complicated father-daughter story, one about hope and hurt, estrangement and redemption. I can’t wait to dive in and adapt this uniquely global, cross-cultural, ambitiously epic tale.”