Eleven years after his directorial debut, Everybody Says I’m Fine (2001), Rahul Bose gears up to go behind the camera again. After a decade of trying to raise funds, he’s finally found a producer in Mahesh Bhupathi and Lara Dutta’s Big Daddy Productions, with Anurag Kashyap jumping on board as co-producer. The film is an adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s novel Moth Smoke (2001) that was New York Times’ Notable Book of the Year.
“I read it 10 years ago and have lived with it for eight years,” says Rahul, admitting the first draft was written six years ago and since then has been rewritten 15 times.
“Preparations have been in-depth and the insecurity that every first-time director goes through will be considerably less this time. Even our Indian technicians are more settled today, and with the producers being on the same page, I feel happy and safe with my international arthouse movie.”
The film flags off on November 1, and Rahul plans to complete the shoot by the year-end, on location in Patiala, Delhi and Mumbai. “It’ll be ready by March. We’ll miss Berlin, but we should be able to showcase it at Cannes,” he says, and is planning to tour with it to all the major festivals, including Sundance, Venice and Toronto.
Mira Nair’s Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012), based on Mohsin’s other cult novel, should be out by then as well.
Rahul, who was recently honoured with an award for National Integration by the Maharana of Mewar Foundation, earlier bagged by the Dalai Lama, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Shashi Tharoor and Teesta Setalvad, agrees that 2012 will be a memorable year.
“I started it with the Equations sports auction that raised over R1 crore for my charity, went on to bag an award at a time when there was an exaggerated sense of division between castes, religions and geographical communities, and should be finished with Moth Smoke by the year- end,” he says.
Prod him on his choice of Moth Smoke, and he says he was drawn by the madness, passion, sadness and subterranean eroticism running through the novel about a fatal and all-consuming love.
So will he act in it? He laughs, “I want to, but the director doesn’t want to cast me even though I’ve told him I’d be available for the casting couch.”
No love lost
Written by Mohsin Hamid, Moth Smoke revolves around Darashikoh Shezad, a banker in Lahore, Pakistan. It was published in 2000. In the book, Darashikoh loses his job, falls in love with his best friend’s wife and plunges into a life of drugs and crime. The life of Mughal prince Dara Shikoh is used as a parallel.
The book was adapted into the 2002 Pakistani film, Daira, and was directed by Azfar Ali. Hamid is also the author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007). The book is being adapted into a film by Mira Nair of Monsoon Wedding (2007) fame. It will release this year.