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Konkona pips Rani to Mira Nair's next film
Bengali actress Konkona Sensharma has replaced Bollywood star Rani Mukherjee in the female lead of director Mira Nair's next venture.
Nair's new film will be a celluloid adaptation of Pulitzer-winning writer Jhumpa Lahiri's novel "The Namesake".
Nair was in town earlier this week scouting for locales, checking out a studio and screen testing actors.
The maker of "Monsoon Wedding" and "Vanity Fair" spoke to Sensharma , the daughter of famed actress-turned-director Aparna Sen, and agreed in principle to cast her in the role of Ashima Ganguli, the young housewife and the mother of the chief protagonist Gogol.
"She has offered me the role," Sensharma said. However, she will be signed up only when the two settle the issue of dates.
The date problem is what saw Mukherjee lose the role to Sensharma . Earlier, Nair had spoken to the Bollywood heroine for the role.
Nair hoped to begin shooting in November, beginning first with Kolkata, one of three cities the story touches on.
Apparently, Nair liked "The Namesake" so much that she shelved plans of making a movie on Homebody/Kabul, a political play by American dramatist Tony Kushner.
"The Namesake" is a study of an Indian-American's self-realisation of his ancestry, cultural roots and the final resolution of a cultural conflict in the mind.
The chief protagonist of the novel is Gogol, born and brought up in the US who questions, reasons and resolves his cultural confusion.
The cultural tribulations of Ashima, the young bride who comes to the US from India after marriage, and her relationship with her husband and son makes her character a challenging role of portray.
Nair hasn't yet drawn up the rest of the cast.
Who plays Ashoke, Gogol's father, remains a mystery. Even the choice of Gogol's lover remained a closely guarded secret, but "a big Hollywood actress" was reportedly being considered for the role.
Nair would reportedly hire some actors from the Kolkata-based Bengali film industry and was also screen testing some of the better-known Bengali television actors.