Fenil and Bollywood

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Shekhar Kapur and Mira Nair compete for praise for the 10-part film tribute to NYC, New York, I Love You

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 21, 2009)

Of the celebrated coterie of internationally-acclaimed Indian filmmakers, two were pitted against each other in the recent homage to New York, titled New York, I Love You. In this 10-story tribute to the city, one film is by Shekhar Kapur, and one by Mira Nair.

Shekhar’s is a film that was originally meant to be directed by the legendary Anthony Minghella. After his sudden death in March 2008, Shekhar was roped in to direct the film written by Anthony. While Shekhar’s film is an episode featuring the veteran Julie Christie as an ageing opera singer and her interactions with a cocky bellboy (played by Shia LaBeouf) at a posh hotel, Mira’s story has Irrfan Khan playing a staunch vegetarian Gujarati who meets a pure non-vegetarian Jewish girl, played by Natalie Portman.

While critics have praised both Shekhar and Mira’s films, the tension between the two has begun to show. Mira claims she got the best reviews. “My film has been superbly received,” she says. “My film was referred to as the one that stood out.” But ask her to comment on Shekhar’s film and she goes mum. Shekhar is equally silent on Mira’s film.

However, since the New York series is dedicated to Anthony, Shekhar’s film does have a sentimental edge over Mira’s. Whatever the acclaim for both, one thing is for sure. Do not expect a joint celebration by the two Indian directors of New York, I Love You.

Shekhar Kapur

Mira Nair