click to enlarge this Mira Nair
image from mondavi.ucdavis
Last week I was asked by a friend to do a web Search
for Mira Nair for her contact info. Seems she has her
sights set on a project concerning The Beatles.
Well, I have listed Mirabai Films on this Blog for
awhile now, so no problem there - the info was sent
out in a couple of minutes. That set me Googling for
Ms. Nair and led me to the discovery of her current priority:
Shantaram the movie.
Now the only Shantaram in my memory was the director
of Prabhat Studios in Bombay where my father was employed
as an artist during the '50s. But at Google, Shantaram
turned out to be a semi-autobiographical novel
by an Australian named Gregory David Roberts.
Remember that name for it's bound to show up everywhere as
the days progress. Not only because the talent of filmmaker Mira Nair
is involved, but because it brings her together with one of Hollywood's
highest-grossing actors, Johnny Depp
AND with Bollywood's most-beloved on-screen hero,
Briefly, Mr. Depp acquired the movie rights to the book and after
Ms. Nair was brought on as director, Amitabh was signed on.
So what did the author of Shantaram do to generate worldwide
interest in his book ?
According to a page on his personal website, Gregory David
Roberts did a whole lot of things. A lot more than can be expected
to be covered in the average Hollywood blockbuster (which this will
be, I predict). Born in Melbourne, Australia, Mr. Roberts was a
Student activist, heroin addict, armed robber, escaped convict,
smuggler, Bombay Mafia recruit, Bollywood casting director and actor,
established Rock singer and......that's giving away too much.
So anyway, this ever-enterprising ex-you-name-it gentleman
is all legal now and sitting on a gold mine since he decided to document
his adventures. This is one Pirate who's gone beyond the Carribean
and then some, and I suspect this is what motivated Johnny Depp
to take on yet another lovable-bad-boy part. And why would Amitabh
or anyone else for that matter refuse to get on board with Depp and Nair ?
The film's in pre-production through 2008. Stay tuned, the buzz gets deep.
In the meantime, I'll try and find out if there's really any Nair-Beatles project.
Official Shantaram site
Good but Unofficial Shantaram site