Reports and rumours can be laid to rest — Kate Hudson is not coming from Los Angeles to Mumbai to “promote” her new film with Mira Nair.
Nair says she has no plans of bringing the international starcast of The Reluctant Fundamentalist to India. And with good reason. A source says, “The film has a volatile theme. It deals with Indo-Pak relations and Islamic fundamentalism after the 9/11 attacks. The film questions a young, US-based Pakistani stock-broker’s relationship with his religion and culture and also depicts a relationship between the Pakstani hero and an American woman, played by Kate Hudson.”
Sources close to Nair confirm she wants to keep the completion and release of The Reluctant Fundamentalist as quiet as possible. And that’s one of the reasons she will do only the film’s post-production work in India. The film is based on Mohsin Ahmed’s novel of the same name. “It is essentially a dialogue between two characters, the Pakistani Changez and the American Bobby. I was struck by the elegance of the theme. I hope it’s not controversial,” says Nair.
Mira groans at the mention of her NRI arch rival Deepa Mehta, who is also exploring the same Islamic fundamentalist, Indo-Pak territory in her new film, Midnight’s Children. “Oh, no! Do I have to answer annoying questions about how it feels to be sailing in the same boat as Deepa? I love Midnight’s Children but I never yearned to make a movie out of it. I’m glad Deepa is doing it. Beyond that my film is mine, hers
Shabana Azmi plays a stellar role in The Reluctant Fundamenlist. “Shabana and I are working together for the first time. She was destined to play my protagonist Changez’s Ammi. I met the author Mohsin Hamid’s mother in Pakistan. She’s exactly like Shabana! And I’ve waited for years to work with Om Puri.”
Is Mira happy she chose Riz Khan over Ranbir Kapoor and Imran Khan for the lead role? Mira laughs, “That’s a very sharaarati question. I’m sure those guys would’ve brought their own interpretation to Changez’s character. But what Riz has given to the film is invaluable. He has that Karachi background of Changez. He can speak fluent Urdu. And though he’s Britain-based, he has the perfect American accent required for the role.”