If Gurinder Chadha has her way, Delhi could play host to Oscar winning actor Colin Firth this October.
The British filmmaker of Indian origin, best known for her 2002 comedy hit Bend It Like Beckham, returns to India in October to shoot portions of her new film on Lord Mountbatten. According to the buzz the film has generated, Firth, who won the Best Actor Oscar for The King’s Speech last year, is Chadha’s first choice to play Mountbatten.
The yet-untitled film is based on the book Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre.
Chadha plans to shoot in Delhi and Jodhpur. Among several restricted areas where Chadha has obtained permission to shoot is the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
“She plans to cast a top Hollywood star as Mountbatten. Chadha would love to have Colin Firth. Her other option is Irish-German actor Michael Fassbender who made his mark with Inglourious Basterds, X-Men First Class and Prometheus,” said a source close to the film.
“Chadha is also in talks with Naseeruddin Shah for the role of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. She plans to approach Saif Ali Khan to play Jawaharlal Nehru,” the source added.
The film narrates the story of Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of British Raj India. It begins in January 1947 and it ends on August 15 the same year. The film will also feature Zohra Sehgal, who turned 100 recently, in a special role.
Chadha earlier said she has been working on the historical script, which she calls “my Partition film” for a while now.
The filmmaker shot to global fame with her debut feature film, Bhaji On The Beach, in 1993, and subsequently carved her niche as a maker of crossover comedies. Her last two releases – Angus, Thongs And The Perfect Snogging and It’s A Wonderful Afterlife – failed to create much impact, and Chadha chose to take a break from comedy to try out a historical drama.
While not much is being revealed about the film yet, it is said Chadha might make necessary changes to suit the cinematic medium from what Collins and Lapierre wrote without, of course, distorting facts.