Mira Nair announced her film during the ongoing FICCI Frames. She discussed her film ‘Reluctant Fundamentalist’ and more in a conversation with filmmaker Zoya Akhtar.
She says, “I am proud of being an Indian. I fly everywhere as an Indian.” She confirmed that she had dropped Ranbir Kapoor, who was considered for ‘Reluctant Fundamentalist’. “I had spoken to Ranbir. He is an exuberant actor and I was looking for a widely travelled man who would be able to put forth all his experiences in this role that I have written.”
She confirmed, “I have finalized Riz Ahmed for the film which is based on Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid’s novel by the same name. He is a popular actor in England and I finally found my hero in him.” The film will release in India next month. Talking about her next project she says, “It is based on the book ‘Queen of Katwe’ which narrates the story of a teenage girl Phiona Mutesi, who becomes a chess champion, despite adverse circumstances while living in the slums of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda. The chess prodigy, who was one among a group of kids, learnt chess using bottle caps and a cardboard sheet. Phiona decided to compete at the Chess Olympiad, and now wants to become a Grandmaster.”
She didn’t reveal more. “I am planning to finish the Broadway musical version of my film ‘Monsoon Wedding’. ‘Salaam Bombay!’ is also being re-released in India to mark its 25th anniversary. After the making of the film we decided to set up an organization for the kids called the Salaam Baalak Trust, which is still going strong.”
She adds, “I grew up in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. My father was a government official. I always pondered over this question: can art change the world? It is then I started reading biographies and was impressed by the lives of people. My mother would also keep narrating me stories while I was just a little girl of seven. While jogging with the village men I got interested in knowing more about the village men. Along with Barry John and Badal Sarkar in Kolkata we turned to writing street plays and would wait for audiences. When I was 21 years old I got a scholarship and started off making documentaries. Later, I got into filmmaking.” By Lipika Varma