Black Warrant is a game-changing memoir by Tihar Jail’s longest serving superintendent, Sunil Gupta, who spent four decades within its walls.
Written by award winning journalist Sunetra Choudhury, formerly of NDTV and now with Hindustan Times, Black Warrant was published to great acclaim by Priya Kapoor, director at Roli Books.
Now, after an intense bidding war, the film/scripted series rights have been jointly acquired by Andolan Films– the production company run by director Vikramaditya Motwane, showrunner of Netflix’s first Indian original Sacred Games – and Confluence Media, the platform agnostic media start-up founded by award-winning writer-journalist Josy Joseph.
About Black Warrant
A day after leaving his secure job with the Indian Railways, Sunil Gupta landed up at his new workplace expecting to change the world. The Superintendent dismissed him saying there was no vacancy. In his excitement at becoming Assistant Superintendent of Prison (ASP) in one of Asia’s largest jails, Sunil had not counted on office politics blocking his way.
But on that blistering summer morning in May 1981, a quick fix emerged. A suave youngster dressed in a suit and tie appeared and volunteered to help Sunil out. Within an hour, he had an employment letter in hand and an opening for Sunil miraculously appeared. For the next three decades Sunil Gupta would be an integral part of Tihar Jail, one of the world’s most wanted, Charles Sobhraj, the so- called bikini killer whose victims had washed up on beaches around the world over, mostly dressed in swimwear.
But even this spectacular entry into the jail city would pale in comparison to Sunil’s, experiences to come. This is the story of those intense three decades, and the myriad characters who together provide a panorama, criminal and political, of India during that period.
“I’m so delighted to be collaborating with Confluence Media and Roli Books on adapting this absolutely brilliant book into a series. Black Warrant is sensational, dramatic and riveting, and a terrific peek into the people and workings of India’s largest jail.” says Vikramaditya Motwane.
“We are thrilled to work with Vikram to adapt this unique story into a scripted series. While the book is a compelling foundation, what we are building around it, in terms of research and writing, will hopefully elevate the story to an outstanding global series that will whisper several important messages to millions while providing a vivid dramatic experience,” says Josy Joseph, Confluence Media founder.
“I am very delighted and satisfied to see the response to our book Black Warrant. The book in real sense reflects the functioning of Tihar, Delhi Govt and the criminal justice system as experienced by me. It is a true story. I hope we are going to achieve new milestones in dissemination of knowledge contained in the book. God bless everyone,” remarks Sunil Gupta, on whose professional career the book is based upon.
Sunetra Choudhury, author, adds, “As a storyteller, there’s nothing more rewarding than the opportunity to see a story reach wider audiences. Even though I’d spent my career dealing with all kinds of bizarre, wonderful stories, the story of the jailer’s life was jaw-dropping. I’m privileged to have written it, and now for being part of such a talented team which will take our words to the screen.
Says Priya Kapoor, Director, Roli Books, “As publishers we take a risk with each book we publish. But there are some you just know will work.Sunil Gupta walked into my office and what began as a formal, introductory meeting turned into a three hour conversation where he regaled me with one story after another of his time at Tihar. Apart from these astonishing stories, what struck me most was his honesty and simplicity. He had an offer at the end of that first meeting. Sunetra was an obvious and first choice to co-write the book and what a winning team they make. I am delighted that Black Warrant has found champions and is in the best hands with Confluence and Andolan – both headed by people whose sensibilities I respect.”
“This deal with Andolan and Confluence is testament to our strong belief that every narrative and every story we commission at Roli deserves to be communicated and portrayed in multiple formats. The audience today consumes content in many ways and books is just one of them — audio, film, web series, and even the gaming industry are platforms we look at right from inception when the book is being written. Black Warrant is a prime example of a story that will be told through multiple formats and reach millions of people.” concludes Kapil Kapoor, Director, Roli Books.