Despite the misses, Nair’s adaptation is not without its merits - The Daily Guardian
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Despite the misses, Nair’s adaptation is not without its merits

Murtaza Ali Khan

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In his seminal work on film theory titled Novels into Film, George Bluestone describes the relationship between novel and film as “overtly compatible, secretly hostile.” Perhaps, there is no better way to understand the paradox associated with adapting a novel into a film/series. For the longest time, fidelity to the text has been the main concern with every adaptation. To quote André Bazin, “A good adaptation should result in a restoration of the essence of the letter and the spirit.”

 But, contemporary film scholars like Robert Stam challenge the classical view asserting that one needs to go beyond the notions of fidelity when it comes to adaptation. After all, novel and film are two completely different mediums and at the end of the day a person who adapts the novel is interpreting it in his/ her way and different individuals are bound to have different readings of the same text. That’s precisely what makes the process of adaptation so exciting. Otherwise, why would anyone like to reheat the same meal again and again instead of cooking a new one? 

However, Mira Nair’s adaptation of Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy for the BBC seems to follow a more conventional approach. The sixepisode mini-series is finally streaming on Netflix. The time, therefore, is opportune to discuss the shortcomings of sticking to the traditional approach.  Let’s consider John Schlesinger’s 1967 adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ starring Julie Christie as the Hardy heroine Bathsheba Everdene. At the time of its release, Christie was lambasted by film critics, many of whom faulted her for being too “mod” and thus untrue to one of Hardy’s classic tales of fate. Today, of course, the film is well respected and Christie’s performance gets regularly praised and is even revered by some. Interestingly, some critics at the time had said that Christie’s contemporary Vanessa Redgrave would have been a better choice as Bathsheba, but while it is true that Redgrave is a superb actress, she didn’t possess the star quality of Christie, which adds conviction to the story of three men in love with one woman. 

  Now, somewhere, I feel the same about Mira Nair’s adaptation of A Suitable Boy. There is no denying that it’s most faithful to Vikram Seth’s novel. Nair would have certainly felt the weight on her shoulders to cast a heroine who shouldn’t be faulted for being untrue to Seth’s period piece set in the early 1950s. So she ended up casting Tanya Maniktala for the part of Lata Mehra. Schlesinger had taken a huge gamble by casting Christie. Even though it failed at the time but over the years it has proven to be an inspired choice. Today, it’s difficult not to think of Christie whenever one thinks of Hardy’s novel or its heroine Bathsheba. Now, I personally would have loved Nair to take a similar gamble for the part of Lata. The story of three men in love with one woman would have felt more plausible had Nair chosen a more popular face for the part of Lata. Also, by reducing Lata to an obedient girl who is servile enough to accept whatever her mother deems right for her, Nair misses a great opportunity to have a dialogue with the increasingly progressive norms of equality in present-day India. One wonders had she followed a bolder approach if she were making it for Netflix instead of BBC. 

 However, despite the misses, Nair’s adaptation is not without its merits. The greatest strengths are the amazing ensemble cast and the immaculate period detail that’s on offer. Nair succeeds in transporting us back to the 50s. India has just attained its independence. But it’s been a bittersweet experience, for the partition has taken its toll. The Hindu majority and the Muslims who have chosen to stay back must now rebuild a new India. As the country prepares for its first general election, different power figures vie for supremacy. On one hand, we have progressive people like Mahesh Kapoor (earnestly essayed by Ram Kapoor) who want to bury the past and move ahead, on the other we have bigots like Raja of Marh (menacingly played by Manoj Pahwa) who want to continue with their old hegemonic ways. While young are looking to follow their dreams, the old are trying to keep them grounded. Even as the majority cherishes the newly found independence there are still some who languish thinking that their British masters have left for good.

 In the words of Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” In terms of performances, Tabu takes the cherry with her mesmerising portrayal of the courtesan Saeeda Bai. The second-best performance on offer unexpectedly comes from Ishaan Khatter who brilliantly essays the part of Mahesh Kapoor’s younger son Maan. Also, Shahana Goswami, Aamir Bashir, Vijay Varma, Vivaan Shah, Vivek Gomber, Danesh Razvi, Sadaf Jafar, and Namit Das deserve special mention for their memorable performances. 

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AS ‘TADAP’ TEASER UNVEILED, SUNIEL ROOTS FOR HIS SON AHAN’S DEBUT

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MUMBAI: Suniel Shetty’s son Ahan Shetty is all set to make his acting debut opposite Tara Sutaria in the film ‘Tadap’.

On Tuesday, the makers unveiled the teaser of the film. The teaser gives us a sneak peek into the world of Ishana and Ramisa, portrayed by Ahan and Tara respectively and establishes their characters well. While Ramisa is seen at the picturesque location of snow-clad mountains, Ishana, on the contrary, is spotted in a rugged macho avatar with his bike.

Sharing the teaser of his son, Suniel took to Instagram and wrote, “A glimpse of my heart for the world. A teaser of what I’ve loved. A humble tease of what is to come #Tadap – a little at a time. So excited for my son @ahan.shetty & his teaser of #Tadap. Give him as much love as you gave me.”

Produced by Sajid Nadiadwala and directed by Milan Luthria, ‘Tadap’ will be out in cinemas on 3 December.

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EMRAAN OPENS UP ABOUT PARALLEL LOVE STORY WITH HORROR GENRE

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MUMBAI: Ahead of the release of his horror film ‘Dybbuk’, Emraan Hashmi opened up about his connection with the particular genre. “I feel I have a parallel love story with this genre. I personally like horror films and hence starring in ‘Raaz 2’ and ‘Ek thi Dayaan’ was like a dream come true for me. A wave of horror films will always be there in the industry and Horror should be consumed like this (‘Dybbuk’),” he said. Emraan also urged filmmakers and actors to come forward to create more horror films in the industry.

“I feel yet in our country and industry, this genre hasn’t been completely explored yet. Not many films are made. I really wish more and more stars come forward to do horror films. Also because I know the success ratio of this genre is a lot more,” he added.

Talking about ‘Dybbuk’, the film also stars Nikita Dutta and Manav Kaul in prominent roles and is all set to release on 29 October on Amazon Prime Video.

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‘JONAS BROTHERS FAMILY ROAST’ TO STREAM ON NETFLIX

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WASHINGTON: Streaming giant Netflix is all set to come up with a comedy special ‘Jonas Brothers Family Roast’, which features none other than musicians brothers Nick Jonas, Kevin Jonas, and Joe Jonas.

Touted as a celebration of “the universal truth that no one can get under your skin quite like your own family”, ‘Jonas Brothers Family Roast’ will include sketches, songs, games and special guests all meant to tease the brothers about their lives and careers, reported Variety. Pete Davidson, Niall Horan, Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, John Legend, Lilly Singh, and Jack Whitehall will make special appearances in the special. Also, Saturday Night Live’s Kenan Thompson will host the show.

On Tuesday, Nick took to Instagram and shared a teaser video to announce the launch of the show. “Someone teach @joejonas how this works… The Jonas Brothers Family Roast will be available on @netflix,” he captioned the clip.

 ‘Jonas Brothers Family Roast’ is scheduled to release on 23 November 23.

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WITNESS COP SALMAN AGAINST GANGSTER AAYUSH IN ‘ANTIM’ TRAILER

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MUMBAI : The makers of the Salman Khan, Aayush Sharma-starrer film ‘Antim: The Final Truth’ unveiled the action-packed trailer of the film on Monday.

The film also marks the debut of Mahima Makwana. The trailer comes loaded with pumping action, highoctane background music, and much more. The nearly three-minute-long trailer opens with Salman Khan, who plays the role of a cop, in his first-ever Sardar persona.

The trailer also gives the audience a good peek into the transformation of Aayush’s character, the nemesis of Salman in the movie. Aayush plays the role of an aggressive, dreaded and territorial gangster. Both Salman and Aayush had to undergo significant physical transformation to play their characters in the film, and the trailer shows precisely that. Laden with thrilling action, in the trailer, Salman Khan comes out as a ruthless, no-bars-held cop who will stop at nothing to rout out crime.

‘Antim: The Final Truth’ is directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, produced by Salma Khan and is presented by Salman Khan Films. The film will be globally released in theatres by Zee Studios on 26 November.

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SHARVARI’S PRIYANKA CHOPRA MOMENT

Uday Pratap Singh

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Gorgeous debutant Sharvari, who will be seen in the family entertainer ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’ playing the role of the new Babli, is over the moon about her Priyanka Chopra moment on the sets of the film. When Sharvari donned a metallic gold bikini and dazzled the crew with her sass and curves on the Abu Dhabi beach, she reminded us of Priyanka’s stunning onepiece bikini sequence in ‘Dostana’ that had stopped the heartbeat of the audience. Sharvari says, “I was the happiest person on set the day I shot this scene. Growing up, the image of Priyanka Chopra walking out of the sea in her golden bikini in ‘Dostana’ was etched in my mind. She is the queen of sass and cool, she looked drop-dead gorgeous.”

She adds, “Ever since I decided to become an actor, I have secretly wished for a sequence like that to be in. And it’s a really sweet coincidence that ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’ script had a sequence of me coming out of the sea in a stunning bikini. I just couldn’t believe it!”

Sharvari exclaims, “So, on the day of the shoot, I was thrilled and confident to pull this off. I was in good shape and had the best crew to shoot this. I was seeing my wish come true. I hope I have pulled off the scene well because someone like Priyanka Chopra had absolutely nailed it and set benchmarks of how to do a great bikini sequence with so much oomph.”

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ARSHAD TO BE SEEN IN TURBANED LOOK IN NEW FILM ‘BANDA SINGH’

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MUMBAI: Arshad Warsi will be seen donning a turban in his new film ‘Banda Singh’.

On Monday, Arshad took to Twitter and shared the first official poster of the movie. In the image, he can be seen sporting a turbaned look as he poses with actor Meher Vij. “Really excited to become #BandaSingh for you all. All we need is your blessings,” Arshad captioned the poster.

As per a statement, ‘Banda Singh’ is a survival story of a man and his family, set in North India and based on true events. It is helmed by Abhishek Saxena.

Abhishek said, “I have been looking for a script like this to direct since a long time as my earlier two films Phullu and Saroj Ka Rishta were on social issues but Banda Singh is about survival. I am quite thrilled to go on floors and roll the film with Arshad, Meher and rest of the cast.” ‘Banda Singh’ will go on floors in mid-November.

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