Mumbai, March 13 (Calcutta Tube) US-based Indian filmmaker Mira Nair is miffed about how her ambitious film ‘Amelia‘, on legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart, was handled by distributors Fox Searchlight. She says it could have got many Oscar nominations and hints at a territorial bias as far as critics go.
‘Yes, the film could’ve been up for at least five Oscar nominations. But my distributors had other bigger films to look into,’ Nair said.
The film on Amelia Earhart, the first woman to pilot a plane solo across the Atlantic Ocean, stars Hilary Swank in the lead apart from Holywood biggies Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor.
The director admits the reviews for ‘Amelia’ in the US were unfavourable.
‘Except for some publications like Hollywood Reporter, the reviews were pretty harsh. I guess it was partly a territorial thing. When as an Indian abroad I make a ‘Salaam Bombay’, ‘Monsoon Wedding’ or ‘The Namesake’, the international critics accept them warmly and wholeheartedly. But when I do what’s normally considered a big Hollywood film it becomes a matter of territorial suspicion in the West,’ she said.
Nair says ‘Amelia’ was a tough film to make.
‘We had to go back and recreate the era to which Amelia Earhart belonged. The planes she flew had to be authentic. We had to get actual planes of the kind that Amelia flew in the 1930s.
‘Was this the toughest film I’ve made? Not really. ‘Vanity Fair’, ‘Salaam Bombay’ or ‘Moonsoon Wedding’ were equally challenging. In ‘Amelia’ I wanted to generate an adrenaline-rush for the audience as though they were sitting in the cockpit with Amelia,’ she added.
And she can’t stop praising Hillary Swank, her lead actress.
‘She’s amazing!’ sighs Nair. ‘A fantastic actress. She has an uncanny resemblance to the original character. I mean she could’ve been Amelia Earhart. I didn’t pick her. The producers picked her. The project came to me with her already on broad.’
‘Amelia’ is Nair’s biggest film to date. ‘A true epic in scope…It’s about Amelia Eahart who pretty much pioneered aviatrix. It starts in the earlier years of aviation. My film goes from the 1920s to 1937 when she did her final flight around the world. And ultimately disappeared,’ she said.
The filmmaker recorded the background score for ‘Amelia’ in London.
‘It’s been done at the Abbey Studios by Gabriel Yared, who did ‘The English Patient’…It’s such an exhilarating experience to work with such amazing talent,’ she said.