Nandita Das’s Yes To Rahul Gandhi, No To Narendra Modi(But Where Was Deepa Mehta?)

March 19th, 2009 - 10:03 am ICT by Sampurn Wire  

Nandita Das's Yes To  Rahul Gandhi, No To Narendra Modi(But Where Was Deepa Mehta?) By Subhash K Jha

On Monday evening Nandita Das had a special screening of her directorial debut Firaaq. And Rahul Gandhi who was a special guest, was completely bowled over.

“He came up to me and said, “What a film…what a film…Everything in the film was just so fantastic.’ Then he asked my host at the screening Naveen Jindal. if I really made the entire film. I think that was a compliment.”

The other dignitaries at the special screening were former diplomat Lalit Mansingh , photographer Raghu Rai and Nandita’s father painter Jatin Das.

A strange omission was filmmaker and close friend Deepa Mehta who is in India for the release of her film Heaven On Earth next week but was nowhere to be seen at Nandita Das’ screening in Delhi on Monday although Deepa was in the Capital .

Strangely Deepa’s close relative designer Ritu Kumar was at the screening. Deepa and Nandita collaborated on two important films Fire and 1947 Earth. But they fell out when Nandita was replaced by Lisa Ray in Water, after Nandita had prepared intensely for the role.

Says Nandita, “There were three screenings of Firaaq in Toronto(where Deepa stays). She didn’t see the film, though I really want her to.”

Nandita Das’s haunting directorial debut Firaaq and Deepa’s Heaven On Earth have certain similar concerns including human oppression and domestic violence. In fact Deepti Naval in Nandita’s fim echoes the spousal anguish of Preity Zinta’s character in Deepa’s film.

Nandita’s film on the aftermath of the Godhra riots has already raised a hornet’s nest even before its release.

Nandita did sneak into Gujarat to shoot a few topography- defining scenes in her film. But otherwise she has refrained from straying into Narendra Modi’s territory. And has no wish to take her film for approval to Gujarat.

Apparently Gujarat’s top-man Narendra Modi has expressed a keen desire to see Firaaq.

But Nandita isn’t biting the bait. “It’s true he wants to watch it. He has apparently asked my producers. But I see no reason to show it to him. It’s being released on Friday and then anyone is free to watch it.”

Nandita has been careful not to let the film’s volatile theme be diluted or coloured by political interferences. “It was impossible to shoot a film like Firaaq in Gujarat. Too may wounds, too many questions, too many hurdles. We couldn’t have made the film the way we wanted to in Gujarat. I took a big risk by shooting in Hyderabad in place of Ahmedabad. We took the decision after checking out a number of cities that matched Ahmedabad’s topography. We finally chose Ahmedabad.And the best compliment came from my co-writer who’s from Hyderabad. She said, “Are you sure this isn’t Ahmedabad?’ Well, it is the Ahmedabad of my film.” -Sampurn Media
Nandita Das's Yes To  Rahul Gandhi, No To Narendra Modi(But Where Was Deepa Mehta?)

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