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Arka Mediaworks option rights to non-fiction book The Ivory Throne

The award-winning first book by Manu S Pillai, which spans across several eras, focuses on the forgotten queen of Travancore, Sethu Lakshmi Bayi.

Sonal Pandya

Arka Mediaworks, the producers behind the global blockbuster series Baahubali, are readying themselves to bring House of Travancore's history detailed in Manu S Pillai's book, The Ivory Throne, to the big screen. The producers have optioned the audio-visual rights of the non-fiction book for production.

The 2015 book, published by HarperCollins India tells the history of Kerala after the arrival of Vasco da Gama in 1498. The Ivory Throne, which spans across several eras, focuses on the forgotten queen of Travancore, Sethu Lakshmi Bayi.

Co-founder of Arka Mediaworks, Shobu Yarlagadda, said in a press release, "We’re excited to start work on bringing the stories and research that Manu Pillai put into his book, The Ivory Throne, to screens. He tells a compelling and unique narrative of an Indian princely state that has rarely been explored or seen on screen before. The stories, culture and traditions from a bygone era can be captivating and engaging to audiences, both in India and abroad. We hope to bring this story to life, and showcase it in all of its glory."

Pillai's debut novel, written over six years, has won the 2016 Tata Prize for best first work of non-fiction as well as the 2017 Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar.

"Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, the protagonist of the book, was one of India’s most remarkable queens, with a life story that is truly gripping – it is most exciting to visualize her tale on screen, and I look forward keenly to the day this happens," the author said in a statement.

Arka Mediaworks was founded in 2001 by Yarlagadda and Prasad Devineni. Baahubali: The Beginning (2015) won the National Award for Best Feature Film and was followed up by Baahubali: The Conclusion (2017). The studio also presented the animated series Baahubali: The Lost Legends on Amazon Prime in 2017, and is currently in production on the Netflix series Baahubali: Before the Beginning, starring Mrunal Thakur, Rahul Bose and Atul Kulkarni.