By ANJALI NAURIYAL
DEHRADUN, 22 Jun: Aloke Lal’s thrilling book, ‘The Barabanki Narcos’, is a best-seller. It was predicted by critics and lay readers alike that the book would be adapted for the silver screen one day. That is now confirmed as the announcement has been made by a leading production company that a web series will be produced by it based on the book.
We caught up with Aloke Lal in Dehradun and asked him a few questions.
What prompted you to write ‘The Barabanki Narcos’?
One of my abiding concerns in life is the ruinous impact of drugs on the country, especially the youngsters. This problem needs urgent attention. The experience of taking on a formidable drug cartel in Barabanki needed to be shared so that the challenges involved in dealing with well-entrenched criminals are understood. This book also brings home the key roles citizens can essay to help the police in such efforts. I am also happy that the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration has added the book to its extensive reading material for officer trainees.
Now that the book is set to be adapted as a web series, what are your thoughts on it?
There is no doubt that the powerful visual media is a very effective vehicle to spread the message. It will lend more power to the written word if justice is done in the making of a film or a web series. The popularity of OTTs is unquestionable and I am thrilled that a major production house has decided to tell the story.
Who were the important contributors in writing the book?
The book has been the result of a lot of hard work in which Maanas Lal played a very major role. Right from the inception of the idea and painstaking research, to the editing of the manuscript and creating the artworks on the front and back covers. My wife helped me recall some aspects of my personal life which are now key paragraphs in the book. My literary agent, Suhail Mathur of The Book Bakers, deserves a lot of credit as he was responsible for getting a top publisher, Hachette India, to publish the book. The Barabanki police also extended all help in providing access to the records which I needed to examine so that there are no factual errors in my narrative.
We find that there is an upsurge of crime-related programmes. Why do you think it is so?
The fact remains that crime is one of the most damaging realities of human existence. Looking into the factors that lead to crime and portraying the manner in which society and the police approach the problem make for gripping visual experiences. The commercial factor of producing successful visual content drives the industry. No wonder, therefore, that we see so many cop-related serials on the screen these days.
Are you planning more books on your long and varied experiences as an IPS officer?
A police officer deals with a lot of sensational and socially crucial issues on a day-to-day basis. So there are many stories in my repertoire which need to be told. I am these days busy in working on a book with Maanas Lal as co-author. The book looks at the problem of communal riots. We have been carrying out the research for several months and, with inputs from communally sensitive areas, we hope to come out with content that will present a narrative which will be useful for social scientists, the police and political leadership.
The issue of communal riots is very relevant in the current times, so an authentic book on the subject will be most welcome. When can we expect to have the book in our hands?
Some publishers have already shown keen interest in acquiring the book, and our new offering is therefore not going to keep readers waiting for long; we can hope to look at the first quarter of the next year for the release of the work.