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Jhumpa makes her film debut

Mar 01, 2007 11:18 AM IST India India

New York: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri's second book, The Namesake, made it to the New York Times bestsellers' list. Now, director Mira Nair's film based on her book is hitting cinema screens in North America on March 9.

CNN-IBN correspondent Anirudh Bhattacharyya caught up with the usually reclusive author in New York and asked if it was important to her to have had the book adapted by an Indian American filmmaker rather than just an American director.

Jhumpa Lahiri: I didn't expect any of this to happen. When Mira approached me, I was overwhelmed that a director of her caliber and talent would be interested in working with the material.

She responded strongly to the book and seemed to have such an urgent need to make the film that it was more than enough for me. It made me feel that it was in the right hands and allowed me to trust her to make the film.

Anirudh Bhattacharyya: I'm sure you have watched her film several times. What did you think of it?

Jhumpa Lahiri: I think it's beautiful. The visual element is pure, there are is a lovely balance between restraint and life in the film that I appreciate very much.

Anirudh Bhattacharyya: Now, Jhumpa Lahiri appears in the acting credits. Tell me a bit about how that came about.

Jhumpa Lahiri: I didn't realise that I was actually in the credits. Mira really wanted me and my family members to appear briefly as extras in the film and so I agreed.

My initial impulse was to hide but I allowed her to convince me and it's actually quite wonderful what she did. She peppered the film with not only all my family here in this country but my extended family in India, in Kolkata.

She has done something great in the film. Mira has united us (family) in the world of film in a way we've never been able to be united in real life. I think, on a personal level, that's a beautiful element to the film for me.

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