21 October, 2020

Twist In The Spindle

'Cotton Mary' - Merchant-Ivory's first foray in the south

Twist In The Spindle

GETTING approval in India for projects where foreigners are involved is never easy. But when the time came to get permission from the Kerala government to shoot Merchant-Ivory's latest film Cotton Mary in and around Fort Kochi, producer Nayeem Hafizka had his reasons down pat. I told the authorities that this was going to be a movie about them and for them this is their movie, in fact, he says, waving his fork expansively at a restaurant table overlooking the calm sun-washed Kochi waters.

It worked. Convinced they were helping to bring out a truly international film about their home state, the people of Kochi lent their furniture and even their homes for a pittance. Out came the tables and chairs from the Bolghatty Palace, while a government officer's home was converted for the duration of the shoot into the production office. And with the police taking special care to see there were no untoward incidents, both cast and crew were soon safely ensconced in idyllic surroundings.

Too idyllic, perhaps. For, as the days passed, a rift developed between the European and local...



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