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Mira Nair mulls movie with Jhumpa's book


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Mira Nair is in the city scouting for locales for her next venture - a celluloid adaptation of Pulitzer prize-winning writer Jhumpa Lahiri's novel "The Namesake".

The hush-hush trip has taken Nair to a few neighbourhoods and a new studio on the city's eastern outskirts where she apparently wanted to can the indoor shots.

Nair, whose recent movies like "Monsoon Wedding" and "Vanity Fair" have established her as a director of repute, hopes to begin shooting in December, 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.

Though Nair, who reached the city Saturday, couldn't be reached for comment, sources close to her have been quoted as saying that she wants to begin shooting in December and finish the indoor campaign in 22 days.

She wanted to shoot the outdoor shots in another week. Thereafter, the filming shifts to New York.

Nair hasn't yet drawn up the cast but one name doing the rounds is that of Bollywood heroine Rani Mukherjee for the female lead of Ashima, Gogol's mother.

Who plays Ashoke, Gogol's father, remains a mystery. Even the choice of Gogol's lover remains a closely guarded secret but a newspaper said that "a big Hollywood actress" is being considered for the role.

Nair will reportedly hire some actors from the Kolkata-based Bengali film industry and is also screen testing some of the better-known Bengali television actors.


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