Namesake: This film is more relevant today

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There is still a lot of attraction towards it in film festivals. The film is particularly relevant in the present times, when people living abroad could not travel to visit families.

Bhavna Somaya

Renowned film writer, critic and historian

Mi Ra Nair’s ‘Namesake’ was released in India in the year 2007. The shooting of the film began in April 2005, first in Kolkata and later in New York. It has been fifteen years since the film was released and still attracts a lot of attention at film festivals.

The film is particularly relevant in the present times, when people living abroad could not travel to visit families. I remember meeting Tabu during the shooting of this film and he said that the story of ‘Namesake’ will always touch our pulse.

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My first question was- ‘I remember you were in talks with director Mira Nair for a different film?’ In response, he said, ‘That’s right. Meera and I had several meetings over the years and some ideas came up.

We both wanted to do some work together, but nothing concrete could come out of these meetings. Then one day when I was shooting for a south language film in Hyderabad, I got a call from Meera. She said that the casting of Namesake is over and would I like to play the lead role in it?’

Didn’t it bother you that you weren’t his first choice? In response, Tabu said, ‘Absolutely not, because

A scene from the movie Namesake.

At this point in my career these issues were very minor, Rather, on the contrary, I have taken it as an opportunity. seen as what does it matter that i Filmmaker’s first or last choice? A role can travel to many actors
but the character is remembered through the same actor. is done, who plays it!’

How different was the shooting experience? To this question, Tabu said, “I really enjoyed shooting with an international unit abroad. This was the first time I was traveling without my makeup man, spot boy and hairdresser. Quite free. have you ever felt lonely there

did not do? In response, Tabu said, ‘Yes did, especially when the days were very cold. And I wanted to have hot Indian food. But whatever it is, I thoroughly enjoyed where I was. Wherever I travel, I always carry my books and music with me.

I also make friends with the people of the unit. The hotel we stayed in was in the heart of downtown Manhattan, so it was easy to walk to the theatres, restaurants or to Broadway whenever we wanted to.’

Is Mira Nair a demanding director? Tabu said, “I knew him from five years back and he always surprised me. His personality is evident in his relationships with his actors and his technicians. He is not strict towards his actors at all. I call him the David Dhawan of America because his motto is to be happy all the time.

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So is this unusual? According to Tabu, “Absolutely. Meera is down to earth and values human values. She makes everyone around her feel special and appreciates a little bit of good work you do. That’s the mark of a capable director.” The first is the signal and it reassures any actor.

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