There’s an interesting connection between Christian Bale starrer Exodus, which released last Friday, and India. I am not referring to actress Indira Varma, who plays the high priestess, but Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani. Paris-based Farahani plays Nefertari, wife of Ramses, in Ridley Scott’s epic Biblical story. Nominated as the most promising actress at the 2014 Cesar Awards in France for her role in The Patience Stone, Farahani has also appeared in Scott’s Body Of Lies (2008), co-starring Leonardo DiCaprio. So what is the India connection? Well, she has been cast by Switzerland-based Indian director Anup Singh to star in his second feature, Mantra – The Song of Scorpions. Farahani will play a Scorpion singer from the Manganiar community of Rajasthan. The scorpion singers are believed to be the only ones who can feel the poison traveling through the body of someone stung by the arthropod and stop it from reaching the heart. Singh’s first feature, Qissa, is yet to release in India. Given Singh’s proximity to Irrfan Khan, after his starring role in Qissa, it would be quite a coup to see the Indian actor cast opposite the beautiful and talented Iranian.
1,000 weeks of love
It’s quite a landmark, and a record-breaking one at that. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Aditya Chopra’s love story, now in its 20th year of uninterrupted run at Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir theatre, is the longest running film in the history of Indian cinema. Today (December 12) marks its 1,000th week of playing in the cinema. The 1995 film about Raj and Simran, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, has not only influenced a generation of cinema-goers, but also a generation of filmmakers. Most recently, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania was an overt tribute to DDLJ. Among the merchandising created to commemorate this occasion, Yash Raj Films is releasing a book, Aditya Chopra Relives Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. The reticent and media-shy director-producer has spoken to author Nasreen Munni Kabir and shared anecdotes and memories about the making of his first film. Surely, this is a collectible for fans.
I recently bumped into Sushant Singh Rajput (Kai Po Che) at the Mumbai airport. Interestingly, the tall, athletic actor was hardly attracting any attention. Dressed in sunglasses and a baseball cap, he was able to maintain a low profile as he killed time till his flight took off, indulging in some retail therapy. The actor, who has wrapped up Dibakar Banerjee’s Detective Byomkesh Bakshy and has been in prep for Shekhar Kapur’s Paani, said he was on his way to Delhi to begin preparations for the biography of the Indian cricket captain, titled MS Dhoni: The Untold Story. To be directed by Neeraj Pandey (A Wednesday, Baby), Singh plays the cricketer in the biopic slated to release next year. But the question that really comes to mind is: when is someone going to announce a Sachin Tendulkar biopic?
During the latest edition of Film Bazaar in Goa, it was a pleasant surprise to see Nimrat Kaur stop by the venue. She was not attending, but had just swung by to meet her The Lunchbox director Ritesh Batra. Kaur was, in fact, on a short holiday in the coastal state, taking a break from shooting for the American drama series, Homeland. In fact, delegates and friends in Goa were no longer commending her for her debut film, but complimenting her on her role as Pakistani ISI agent Tasneem in the ongoing TV series co-starring Clare Danes and Suraj Sharma.