The Sandman: Audible/DC Audio Drama Getting Bollywood Adaptation
The Sandman, Neil Gaiman's pioneering graphic novel series that launched the current boom in the graphic novel market with its massive teenage and female readership, is getting a Hindi-language audio drama adaptation with a voice cast of Bollywood stars. Bet you never saw that coming. Audible is producing the version of The Sandman: Act 1 that translates Dirk Maggs' first volume of the audio series into a Bollywood version. As Variety reported, Maggs has had a distinguished career as a producer with BBC Radio where he elevated radio drama to the realm of what he describes as "a film in your ears." One of his innovations was to introduce the Dolby Surround sound into BBC Radio. He has adapted several superhero characters for the radio including Superman, Batman, and Judge Dredd and his work also includes a seminal radio adaptation of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
The Hindi version features Tabu (Andhadhun), a female narrator who shockingly sounds nothing like Gaiman, Vijay Varma (A Suitable Boy) in the lead role of Morpheus/Dream, Manoj Bajpayee (The Family Man) as Doctor Dee, Sushant Divgikar (Evening Shadows) as Desire, Adarsh Gaurav (The White Tiger) as the Indian John Constantine, Neeraj Kabi (Paatal Lok) as Lucifer, Kubbra Sait (Foundation) as Death and Tillotama Shome (Sir) as Calliope.
The audio adaptation is a faithful retelling of the comic story of The Sandman, also known as Lord Morpheus, or Dream, the immortal king of dreams, stories, and the imagination is pulled from his realm and imprisoned on Earth by a nefarious cult and languishes for decades before finally escaping. Once free, he must retrieve the three tools that will restore his power and help him to rebuild his dominion.
"I was absolutely, if you pardon the expression, gobsmacked when I saw who is going to be performing because this is a cast of A-listers. This is exactly how we've tried to cast it for the English-language version, which is to get the very best cast we can," Maggs said. "And it's not because it's a gimmick to get A-list actors to perform this stuff. It's by Neil Gaiman and it needs people of this caliber to make it work. And when you get a cast this good there is no better performance available in those roles."
"I've got to say, I just love Tabu as the narrator – it's wonderful to have a female voice performing what is Neil's part in our English-language version," said Maggs. "Then you've got Manoj who's just amazing as Doctor Dee – it's exactly what it needs to be which is a scenery-chewing performance, but still absolutely classy. In Vijay, who's the young and upcoming talent who's playing Morpheus — very much like James McAvoy who plays Morpheus in the English-language version — you've got someone who's got real energy and vitality in the part. The whole cast is just to die for really, or to dream about."
The Hindi-language adaptation will open up "The Sandman" world beyond India's English-language market. It is also a territory that is steeped in its own mythology, including the epics The Ramayana and The Mahabharata."
"What's interesting about 'The Sandman' is, it's drawing on all sorts of mythologies, and it does touch on South Asia and North Asia, and it also goes into Greek mythology and Norse mythology," said Maggs. "And Neil is a kind of magpie who steals the shiniest objects from various mythologies and blends them together, forges them into something entirely new."
The third volume of the English-language versions of Audible's The Sandman is keenly anticipated by fans but Maggs is not at liberty to reveal the launch date, beyond hinting that it would be out this year "we're mixing it in a very specific and sexy way."
Maggs is also planning an Audible Science Fiction project with Gaiman.
If you're still chomping at the bit for the Netflix TV version of The Sandman, you can take solace in having the audio versions to tide you over, including the upcoming Hindi version.