Mira Nair will direct the crime film, Bengali Detective, for Fox Searchlight.
Bengali Detective is based on a documentary directed by Phil Cox, which screened in the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Searchlight acquired the remake rights there. The story revolves around an intrepid private eye in Kolkata’s criminal underworld whose dream is to dance on Indian television!
With this film, Nair will return to her Monsoon Wedding writer, Sabrina Dhawan, while Scott Free and Michael Costigan will be producing it.
Born in Rourkela (Odisha), Nair grew up in New Delhi, but now lives between New York and Kampala, where she runs a movie school. If we do not tell our stories, nobody else will, is her motto, and this drives her to make a cinema whose plots are amazingly varied, though not always critically appreciated. Nair first hit the headlines when her 1988 film Salaam Bombay (on the city’s slum children) won the Camera d’Or Prize at Cannes and was subsequently nominated for the foreign language Oscars, one of the three Indian films ever to win this recognition.
Winner of the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award, she conquered the Venetian lagoons in 2001 when her extremely bold work with a raucous Punjabi wedding as the backdrop clinched the Festival’s top Golden Lion. She was only the second Indian to have got it after Satyajit Ray’s Aparajito in 1957. Though Nair made some fine cinema, she also made some rank bad movies like Vanity Fair (adapted from Thackeray’s novel) and Kama Sutra among a few more. Her highlights remain Salaam Bombay, Monsoon Wedding and Namesake. Her latest work, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (from a Mohsin Hamid work), played at Venice last year, but could only garner mixed reviews.
Searchlight saw major success with two of its productions set in India, the 2008 Slumdog Millionaire, which grossed over $370 million worldwide, and last year’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which topped $130 million.