Nehru-Edwina ‘romance’ to be filmed

June 29th, 2008 - 6:19 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Cate Blanchett

London, June 29 (IANS) The story of the reported intense relationship between India’s first prime minister and the vivacious wife of its last British Viceroy is to be turned into a film that may not follow a “nuanced approach”. Film rights to a book, Alex von Tunzelmann’s “Indian Summer”, which gives details of “the intense love affair” between Jawaharlal Nehru and Lady Edwina Mountbatten, have been bought by the British production company Working Title, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The Sunday Times said English-born Hollywood star Hugh Grant was rumoured to be playing Lord Mountbatten and Cate Blanchett his wife. As for Nehru, the author had urged the filmmakers to “look to Mumbai”.

The book, published last year, focuses on the lives of five key actors surrounding India’s partition - Gandhi, Jinnah, Nehru, Edwina and her husband Lord Mountbatten.

But comments by the author published in the Sunday Times indicate a spotlight on the relationship between Nehru and Edwina - the subject of much popular history speculation.

“I thought, when I first came across this story, how filmic it was,” said von Tunzelmann. “It’s a real-life Casablanca - it has huge potential.”

The 1942 film “Casablanca”, an all-time Hollywood hit, is set during World War II in the Moroccan resort. Its central characters are an American expatriate, his ex-lover and her husband, a Czech resistance leader.

The newspaper said Working Title bought the film rights even before von Tunzelmann’s book was published last year.

The author refused to reveal any more details about the film project but said she thought the relationship between Nehru and Edwina was “incredibly significant”.

“Whenever I read about Mountbatten, this story about Edwina’s affair with Nehru would come up, but all the historians kept brushing it away,” she says.

“It was as if they were saying, ‘No serious historian would be interested in this affair.’ I kept thinking, ‘Well, actually, if two people in their situations had an affair, that was incredibly significant.’ ”

She said if the relationship had been known to the world at the time of the partition, “the scandal would have dwarfed the abdication (by the British king). It would have decided the fate of nations”.

“There are only two people who know whether their relationship was sexual, and they’re both dead. They were certainly in love. There was an extraordinary intimacy there.”

But The Sunday Times said: “A film of ‘Indian Summer’ may not, she is willing to admit, follow such a nuanced approach.”

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