As The Namesake, the film made by Mira Nair, based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri's novel, opened to critical as well as box-office acclaim in the West last week , Vibhuti Patel spoke to Jhumpa in New York about the film versus the book, her characters, her connections with her Bengali family, her relationship with Nair, and her new work. Excerpts from their conversation:
Patel: What made you sell the film rights of The Namesake?
Lahiri: Money's always welcome (it wasn't a life-altering sum) as was the possibility of the film being made. I felt honoured that a fresh, incredible filmmaker whose vision I admired had read my book, liked it and wanted to make a film out of it. She expressed such passion, enthusiasm and profound understanding of the story, and had such strong ideas for what she wanted to do, it seemed ideal.
Weren't you nervous to give up control?
I never want to deal with a book once...