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#Odyssey: Magical story about friendship, India and Britain set for the big screen

This month saw the launch in London of a global cultural/film project – ‘The Heartstone Odyssey’ – at the amazing Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

The trilogy is the work of Scottish writer Nick Sidle, and delves into the cultural and racial differences that exist in the world, in the context of India and Britain.

The books tell the story of Chandra, a dancer of Indian-origin who lives in the UK and her friends, a group of “British” mice who are on a quest to piece together the Heartstone, a magical stone which shattered into different pieces at the beginning of the British Raj in India.

This stone is of great importance to the mice and the pieces were hidden in the Himalayas for safe keeping – all except for one shard, which was brought over to Britain in the ultimate hope of healing the division between the two countries.

The story is a voyage of charting the stars, exploring the cultural differences and learning to understand and live in harmony with people of different races.  It takes us on a journey through England, Scotland and India.

One reader put the whole premise of the book in context when he said “…it has done for racism what 101 Dalmatians did for the fur trade!” 

The books – which have sold more than 90,000 copies since 1990 –  also inspired the Heartstone charity which seeks to combat racism and xenophobia.

Author Sidle – who is also a celebrated photo-journalist – was given the nom de guerre ‘Arvan Kumar’ by a fellow passenger on a train from Mumbai to Chennai in the mid 1980’s.  He had first narrated the idea of the story to his co-passenger (and now wife) Sitakumari, a classically trained dancer. 

Unsurprisingly, his impromptu audience was enthralled.

So it’s no wonder that the story caught the interest of the Oscar Award-winning producer and director Barrie M Osborne.

Osborne liked the story and its theme promoting better understanding among people.

It certainly helps that his film credits include such epics as ‘Apocalypse Now’, ‘The Matrix’ and the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. 

He has also scouted locations in southeast London, Scotland and India and is expected to get the show underway in the near future.

To acquaint yourself with what is certain to be a epic like no other, read Chandra’s Story and visit www.heartstone.org.uk to find out more about the charitable activities inspired by the book.

{module Thanu Kurien – Author }

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