After shelved 'Shantaram', 'Amelia' is Mira Nair's pet project

Mumbai, Oct 22 (IANS) US-based Indian director Mira Nair was disappointed when her much publicised film "Shantaram" was shelved, but she is now happy with her latest prized project "Amelia", which stars Hollywood actress Hilary Swank.

"Amelia" is about legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart, who disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 in an attempt to make a flight around the world.

"In September 2007, when I was offered 'Amelia', I said no because I was busy with 'Shantaram'. Then 'Shantaram' fell apart. They came back to me with 'Amelia' in January. I never thought I'd ever be able to switch from my Mumbai mood for 'Shantaram' to this project, having spent one year flying in and out of Mumbai for 'Shantaram'. But then you know these things happen," Nair told IANS from London.

The "Monsoon Wedding" fame director has almost wrapped up her bio-pic on Amelia Earhart and she can't stop raving about Hilary Swank.

"She's amazing! 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 board."

"We've three more weeks to shoot in South Africa. But before that I'm taking two weeks off to go home," Nair said.

"Amelia" is Nair's biggest film to date.

"A true epic in scope. We're shooting around the world. It starts in the earlier years of aviation. My film goes from the 1920s to 1937 when Amelia did her final flight around the world. And ultimately disappeared," said Nair, who has made critically acclaimed films like "The Namesake" and "Salaam Bombay".

She has also completed a six-minute film on love starring Natalie Portman and Irrfan Khan called "Kosher Vegetarian".

"It's part of a series on love called 'New York I Love You'. And it's got 12 directors holding forth on love. The only pre-condition was it must not exceed six minutes.

"I had this wonderful idea. Irrfan and Natalie create magic. It's a nice vigorous exercise to create a story in so little time. But we had no choice. It had to be six minutes. I finished it in February and moved to the bigger picture," Nair said.

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