March 13, 2010 (Calcutta Tube): US based Indian filmmaker Mira Nair is mutedly miffed about how her latest release the ambitious movie Amelia about the first woman pilot , was handled by its distribuors Fox Searchlight. “Yes, the film could’ve been up for at least 5 Oscar nominations. But my distributors had other bigger films to look into.”
Mira 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 accepts 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.”
Mira 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 generate an adrenaline-rush for the audience as though they were sitting in the cockpit with Amelia.”
Hillary Swank plays the lead.
“She’s amazing!” sighs Mira. “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 Mira’s biggest film to date. “A true epic in scope. We’re shooting around the world. 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.”
Mira recorded the background score for Amelia in London
“It’s been done at the Abbey Studios by Gabriel Yared who did The English Patient and so on. It’s such an exhilarating experience to work with such amazing talent.”
-Subhash K Jha/ Sampurn Wire