Mira Nair--Pushing the Crossover
Rediff.com reports that Mira Nair has cast Bollywood star Tabu to play the role of Ashima in her filming of Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake. The film which is currently in pre-production, and scheduled to be completed in 2006, also stars Kal Penn as the main protagonist Gogol Ganguli, described by Nair as the "fastest rising Indian American star this side of the ocean." Nair is reportedly in talks with Kate Hudson to play Gogol's (Kal Penn's) American interest. Hudson incidentally will be playing the lead in Gurinder Chadha's next blockbuster I Dream of Jeannie.
Nair said her version of the Namesake would stay
"fairly close to the book. I have made only two changes. One change is that Ashima [the protagonist] is a singer in my film because I want to use music. I love to create soundtracks for my films. Another change – to keep the budget in check – is that I have changed the Cambridge Massachusetts location in the book to New York."After The Namesake, Nair is scheduled to start on Gangsta M.D., the Hollywood version of Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Bollywood hit, Munnabhai MBBS. Chris Tucker has apparently been tagged by Nair to play Sanjay Dutt's role, although he has not yet committed to the film. I wonder if Nair will add some Bollywood Flair to this one. I can see it now, Tucker and some Bollywood hottie breaking out into an impromptu Hip-Hop meets Bollywood/Bhangra song-and-dance number.
More here and here on Nair's projects.