Mira has almost solved her casting dilemma over The Reluctant Fundamentalist. She will no more cast a Bollywood actor in the main role, though she had a secret audition with Ranbir Kapoor.
Reveals Mira for the first time, "I did a beautiful audition with Ranbir. Some years ago an audition for Bollywood stars was unheard of. But Ranbir did an excellent full-hearted audition with me. I've great love for the guy. He auditioned for two hours and I was deeply affected by his performance."
Alas, Ranbir couldn't give the dates. "I needed him for three months from March. Sad that it didn't work out, although Ranbir initiated the discussion. I think it was for the best. After Ranbir didn't work out I decided to go for an authentic Pakistani. But I think I will work with Ranbir at some time. Now I'm going to choose between the two Pakistani actors I wanted from the start. One is from Lahore and the other from Karachi. In The Namesake too I went to Kal Penn and Tabu after Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee declined."
Mira also auditioned Imran Khan for The Reluctant Fundamentalist, but was not too impressed. Says Mira diplomatically, "Imran is very cute. It's going to be a Pakistani actor. The fact is, the protagonist Changez Khan in The Reluctant Fundamentalist is Pakistani. He's a unique character. He's rooted to Pakistan but is a global citizen. It's a very challenging role."
Mira has the choice between two Pakistani actors. "One is a Pakistani rock star; the other is a very famous film and television star-actor. But the Pakistani rock star is not Ali Zafar. I'm also looking at a British-trained Pakistani actor. Out of 300 actors we've zeroed in on these 3."
Now a decision has to be taken in two weeks. "But these are my three candidates," declares the far-from-reluctant movie-maker. Though the film will be shot with a Pakistani actor in the lead, the shooting will be in Delhi, Mira's home town. Explains Mira, "Spiritually and architecturally Delhi is akin to Lahore. But I'll be shooting in Lahore for ten days as well. Then four weeks in New York and four days in Chile. We start shooting in March."