Mira Nair’s ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ is the first film of Indian origin to be the opening film at the Venice Film Festival.
The core cast, Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Keifer Sutherland and Live Schreiber would accompany Mira to Venice and then to the Toronto Film Festival.
Says Mira, “The four main actors are going to be there with me in Venice. Then we move to Toronto where our film will be premiered in the Gala section on 8 September. So it’s one hectic festival binge for us.”
Mira’s films are no strangers to Venice.
Says Mira, “Mississippi Masala was my first film at the Venice Film festival where we won three awards and that was a really terrific send-off for the film into the international market. Then we went to Venice with Monsoon Wedding. It won the Golden Lion. My Vanity Fair was also in Venice. Then I took my short film featuring Natalie Portman and Irrfan Khan to Venice. But yes, this is special. No Indian film has been the opening film at the Venice festival. This landmark honor of opening at the Venice Film Festival has really brought attention to our film.”
And it’s not just the Venice Film Festival at the end of this month.
Sighs the beleaguered filmmaker, “There’s the Venice opening, and the Gala premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and then the London Film Festival… It’s a lot of work. We’re making posters, and doing wall-to-wall international interviews.”
Mira plans to sell The Reluctant Fundamentalist in Toronto. “We’ve many buyers tracking the film. It occupies an unusual landscape. We shot in three continents with actors from both sides of the world. I conceived it as a coming of age story about a young man in love with America who ascends the American Dream and falls out of love with it. And he finds himself in the process. It’s a thriller, a human thriller. My first film of that genre. Thanks to the brilliant Shimit Amin, the film looks taut. Everyone is noticing Shimit’s edting work.”
Mira is currently shooting a short film entitled Words With God.
Says Mira, “The film questions the validity of God. A child sees God everywhere and we who think we need a special room to house God don’t understand the essence of God.”
Mira would shoot four days in a duplex apartment in Mumbai, then two days on the streets of Mumbai.
Says Mira, “I signed on to do this 1 ½ years ago. While I was editing The Reluctant Fundamentalist I was working with Zoya on this project. It’s a little insane when I’ve to take Reluctant Fundamentalist to Venice at the end of this month.”
It took Mira three years to adapt novel to screen. “And another year and a half of solid dhakkas to get finance.”