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Deccan Herald » National » Full Story

Mira Nair rejected Harry Potter offer

‘I am better suited to emotions and less interested in special effects,’ Mira Nair said while disclosing the reasons for rejecting Warner Brothers’ offer.

Mira Nair refused to do Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth installment of the superhit series created by J K Rowling, because she is more at home with human emotions and “less interested” in special effects, she said in Panaji while interacting with the media on Tuesday.

Again, she rejected the Warner Brothers’ offer because she felt it was not something that only she could do.

“When I consider offers by others to make films, my criteria (for accepting) is, can anybody else make this film. If yes, I would prefer that someone else make it. I am better suited to emotions, human beings, and less interested in special effects,” she said .

“More importantly, it would have taken away three years of my life, during which I can do more of what I am interested in,” she added.

Nair’s interaction was the first press meeting at the 35th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) as well as the first interaction with delegates at the Open Forum organised by the Federation of Film Societies of India after Monday night’s screening of her Vanity Fair as the opening film of the festival.

Nair, on the throes of finalising the shooting schedule for her new film The Namesake based on Jhumpa Lahiri’s eponymous novel, admitted that the decision to reject the Harry Potter offer was a difficult one to make.

“Being asked to make Harry Potter was a great honour. It caused a lot of stress and confusion in me,” she said.

The director of acclaimed movies like Salam Bombay and Monsoon Wedding, is also doing her bit to promote talent from the subcontinent and East Africa, two of her three homes (the third being New York).

“I have created this project called Maisha in Kampala, where I have spent a lot of time after my marriage (her husband is from Uganda). Next year, I will take eight young film-makers from East Africa and four from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh there. They will spend time with some big names of cinema world. The aim is to create excellent local cinema,” she said.

In between, she hopes to start shooting The Namesake this February in Kolkata with Konkona Sen Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Kal Pen and Natalie Portman in lead roles. “Then we will shoot in New York in April-May,” she said.

Incidentally, Rani Mukherjee was slated to play the lead role of ‘Ashima’. “We talked for a long time, but her (Rani’s) dates were impossible. And since I work in a planned manner, I returned to my original instinct (Konkona),” she said.

Next on cards is an adaptation of Hari Kunzru’s acclaimed debut novel The Impressionist. “My scriptwriter Sooni Taraporewala has just finished the scripting,” Nair said.

Incidentally, the ‘International Bhenji Brigade’, launched by her with much fanfare to produce films from ideas by young talent from the world over, seems to have struck a dead end for now. “It was supposed to be financed by a young man who has not shown up as yet,” she said.

“But the beauty of it was that I received 56 scripts for the project, and out of them one Zoya Akhtar’s Luck by Chance was so interesting that I have decided to co-produce it under Mirabai Films banner along with Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani,” she said.

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