Reel time for chick lit

Lin Lin Khaing

Ponnya Khin is regarded as one of Myanmar’s influential chick-lit authors. The film adaptation of her best-selling novel “Kya Ma Ka Hnin Si Par Maung” (“I am a Rose, Dear”) has just hit the theatres. While the film has caused a sensation among film critics, its title is becoming one of the buzzwords on social media following its press preview. The novelist told Myanmar Eleven in a recent interview how she’s coping with the success of the film and the sheer popularity of her several other novels destined for the big screen. 

How do you feel about the film adaptation of “Kya Ma Ka Hnin Si Par Maung”?

It took me around three months to write this novel. I poured all my heart and soul into the characterisation of Htar Thakhin. I myself faced the harsh realities of life. I was able to live a stress-free life due to my parents’ wealth as a child. With the passage of time our family went through financial difficulties and I became unable to adapt to the changing circumstances. I created Htar Thakhin based on these experiences. When I first saw Htar Thakhin in the film, it felt like I’d just created a life that was lost with my own strength. That’s why this novel is quite memorable for me.

Novelists tend to be worried about changes made to adaptations of their books. How about you? 

I used to worry about deviations from my original aim. As I have written film scripts before, I see why additions/changes need to be made to a film adaptation. It’s important not to deviate from the original aim.

Tell us about your upcoming novel.

All I can say is it’s full of suspense. I have been thinking about writing it for a long time, but I needed time to observe some situations. I waited for the right time as I didn’t dare to write it. Most of my fans are women. My thoughts on how much security women in our country have, how many of them are still drowning even though they are trying to struggle, and how to save these women who are living lower lives are the main thrust behind this novel. It’s about love between young people from different ways of life, the life of a girl who has no life security, and a mix of political and legal issues. It’s the novel that I need to wait patiently for the audience’s feedback with every beat of my heart. The novel’s called “A Htet Tan Sar….Yay” (“High Class….Water”).

What’s next?

Still to come is a novel titled “Khit Ye Thamee Pyo Myar” (“Girls of the Era”). I wrote about girls in “Kwel At Thwar Taw Hman Chat Myar” (“Glasses that Have been Broken”) back in 2000. The world view and lifestyle of these girls have changed ever since. They dare to do what they didn’t dare to do before. I need to observe the lives of these girls of this era so that I can write accurately about them. 

Any other novel to be made into a film?

“A Nan Wine” (“Kiss Wine”) will be adapted for a film within this year. It’s a romance film. I’m helping them with the filming at a unique locale. “Yat Yat Sat Sat Moe” (“Cruel Rain”) will be another adaptation whose filming starts this month. I wrote the script myself. “Hmaw Sayar Phan Sin De Chit Chin Phwet Kabyar” (“Love Poem Created by a Wizard”) will be turned into a film early next year. A famous person who has never acted in a feature film before will be among the film’s cast. I have four novels that have been sold [for film adaptations], but I don’t know the filming schedules yet. I have also written the script for one of the Jataka tales (about the Lord Buddha’s previous lives) that is also to be made into a film. At the moment I’m working with a director on the adaptation of “A Htet Tan Sar….Yay”. “Khit Ye Thamee Pyo Myar” (“Girls of the Era”) may also be adapted for a film. A director told me that he wants to do a film about a Bagan play which hasn’t been written yet.