Actors tend to spend a lot of time travelling away from their families. However, sometimes, it so happens that they chance upon home in an altogether foreign land. At least that’s what happened to Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed during the shoot of Mira Nair’s next.
While filming for the post-September 11 drama based on Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist in India, the lead actor -- who co-stars Kate Hudson in the film -- stumbled upon something unexpected. When Riz saw the college in Old Delhi where he was shooting for some pivotal scenes, it reminded him of his childhood memories. Turns out it was the same college his grandfather had attended before the Partition took place!
Riz was pleasantly surprised on discovering his Indian roots and he reminisces, “We were filming in an old compound called the Anglo-Arabic Islamic School when I happened to learn my granddad was a student of this college and my granddad’s uncle used to be its president. It was a way for me to unexpectedly reconnect with my own heritage as well. I wasn’t even aware of these connections before visiting the location.”
Mira couldn’t shoot the film in Pakistan due to security reasons, although the script pretty much demanded Lahore. “Improvisation was the only way ahead as we had to recreate the Pakistani city in Old Delhi itself and it was a challenge worth taking up,” adds a unit member.