Mira Nair’s Reluctant Fundamentalist adaptation (older post updated)
thanks to Ami..
Mira Nair’s adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s 2007 novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist on its final leg now, is being shot in New Delhi. To make sure the schedule gets completed properly, Mira Nair has roped in Shimit Amin, famous for his directorial ventures Ab Tak Chappan and Chak De! India as the editor and director of the second unit. The director, after his last film Rocket Singh – Salesman Of The Year, decided to take a sabbatical from direction and go back to where he started from – film editing.
A source informed Mumbai Mirror, “The break to edit Mira Nair’s film is Shimit’s way of going back to his roots. And his job in The Reluctant Fundamentalist is going to be tougher that it seems. He would have to make Delhi look like Lahore. Also, Mira needed shots of Old Delhi and other crowded parts of the city. So, she persuaded Shimit to handle the second unit. Shimit was reluctant since he is editing the film. But Mira dragged Shimit into directing the second unit”
Keifer Sutherland comes to India
Needless to say, the key actors, including Kiefer Sutherland (better known as Jack Bauer, his character in the American television series 24) was in the national capital with his co-actors to shoot for the film.
In fact, the actor, who left the country last week after finishing his part in the film, became a talk of the unit with his camaraderie with Azmi. Sutherland and Azmi not only bonded over their common passion – acting, but also their common friend Anil Kapoor. Sutherland who worked with Kapoor in the tele-series 24, was seen chatting with Azmi about the very man.
“Riz Ahmed, Shabana Azmi and Keifer Sutherland talked a lot about Anil Kapoor. They also chatted about the diaspora and Indian cinema. Om Puri however, remained largely aloof from the idle talk, lost in his own world,” revealed a source.
Creating Lahore in Delhi
The Delhi schedule of The Reluctant Fundamentalist is however, not all about happy friendships. After trying her best to get permission to shoot in Lahore, the place the novel is based, Mira Nair finally decided to recreate the Pakistani city in Delhi.
However, this decision too seemed to pose a problem for the filmmaker. Though, Nair obtained the necessary permission to shoot in Delhi, the fact that the national capital has to masquerade as Lahore, did not go down too well with certain sections of the government and bureaucracy.
A source close to the film revealed, “We’re shooting in Delhi. But it’s meant to be Lahore. We can’t broadcast this fact. Any hint of the geo-political translocation could cause trouble. So we’ve all been sworn to complete secrecy. No one mentions the ‘L’ word on location and we are not supposed to give out the locations where we’re shooting even to our close family and friends. Strictly no visitors and guests allowed.”
After making a film on legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart, Mira Nair is planning her next. And this time, her protagonist will be a Pakistani man who lets go of his life of fame in America after a failed love affair and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And the filmmaker has already chosen the one who will play that protagonist: Shahid Kapoor.
Nair’s film is based on Mohsin Hamid’s second novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which was published in 2007 and was an instant bestseller. The lead role is thus quite a challenging yet prestigious offer for Shahid, who will be acting in an international film for the first time.
Apparently, Mira was keen on casting either Shahid or Ranbir Kapoor for the role of the protagonist, who is a bearded man called Changez in the novel. Our source said, “Between Ranbir and Shahid, Mira felt that Shahid had the intensity that the character required. While immensely appreciative of Ranbir’s talent, Mira thought that Shahid was better suited for this role.”
We wonder if Shahid’s intense double role in Kaminey won him his brownie points.
In Nair’s film as well as the novel by Mohsin, the story unfolds in the form of a dialogue between Changez and an American he meets at a cafe in Lahore. The protagonist gives voice to the various post-9/11 anxieties that emerged in the following months in America.
All in all, the project is an extremely promising one for Shahid. Though the actor remained unavailable for comment, a source confirmed, “Mira has already met Shahid. The actor loves the script. The necessary formalities are being worked out as both Mira and Shahid are extremely excited about the film and want to start working on it by early next year.”