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Hilton as Mother Teresa!

A noted Malayalee director's decision to cast the socialite in the role is nothing short of being preposterous, says Saumya Balsari.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 18:51 IST
Saumya Balsari
Saumya Balsari

It's preposterous. Ludicrous. Surely Mother Teresa deserves better than this? That's what Auntyji thinks, and I tend to agree. Confused? I'll start at the beginning.

The Sun reports that a highly regarded Malayalam film director T Rajeevnath is considering the casting of the socialite heiress Paris Hilton as Mother Teresa in his forthcoming film. I spluttered into my cup of masala chai at the news. Did you?

Auntyji thinks he has lost his marbles (if he ever had them). Is there none other to play the revered nun? Ms Hilton's acting credentials so far are to put it mildly - not quite saintly - and confined to her own home movie One Night in Paris in which she purportedly (and sportingly) revealed all. Splutter!

We all know what home movies are like. (Auntyji has already watched quite a few of Babli at her first Kathak lesson, and the one of her grandchild eating her first mashed food at the age of four months.) Home videos are proverbially a little shaky on the lighting, flaky on narrative. In fact, some desi wedding photographers sneer at them. Take a look at their professional DVDs - cooing doves, wooing flower petals and the bridal couple suitably distant from the camera (so we don't spot the acne in the rising mist).

The film will apparently be shot in West Bengal. This is a relief. Considering that it is a film about Mother Teresa, it would be strange at the very least, if it were to be transported to more glamorous locations. T Rajeevnath has also revealed that the successful leading lady would have her past scrutinised before being offered the role. He has apparently said, "Although there are a number of actresses willing to play the role of Mother Teresa - the most widely respected and loved person - the history of the actress who is finally chosen for the role would have to be analysed thoroughly before she is chosen."

Let's forget Ms Hilton's home video (if the men among us can) and stay with the director for a moment - why was T Rajeevnath so enamoured of Ms Hilton? The newspaper would have us believe he was impressed she had refused to strip for Playboy. Splutter. So a refusal to take one's clothes off lands the role? By specious logic, that puts some (oh, all right most, well - practically every Asian woman) in the running for the role of Mother Teresa. Should we be thronging T Rajeevnath's backyard for auditions and forming orderly queues taking our cue from pop idol? Why not?

Auntyji, for one, would never strip or skinny dip for Playboy. But does that make her a prime candidate for playing Mother Teresa? Now that's an entirely different matter.

(Saumya Balsari is the author of the comic novel 'The Cambridge Curry Club', and wrote a play for Kali Theatre Company's Futures last year. She has worked as a freelance journalist in London, and is currently writing a second novel.)

First Published: Feb 18, 2006 18:23 IST