Posted on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
British filmmaker Danny Boyle (Academy Award winning director of Slumdog Millionaire) might be returning to India to film another story in Mumbai. The Wall Street Journal’s Indian newspaper Live Mint reports that Boyle has acquired the film rights to Suketu Mehta‘s 2004 book Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found.
The book is partly an autobiography, part travelogue , and part socio-political analysis of the history and people of Mumbai. Boyle referred to the book as his “bible” on Slumdog, using it through filming of “inspiration, comprehension and balance.” The book has been widely acclaimed, and was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize. The Economist named Maximum City one of its books of the year for 2004. Film rights were sold in May for an undisclosed amount.
A less reliable (read: gossipy) Digital Spy reports that Aamir Khan has been approached by Boyle to star during his recent trip to India. Khan is best known for his role in Lagaan, which is one of three Bollywood films in history to have been nominated for an Oscar. The 44-year old actor has appeared in 42 Bollywood movies. He is also rumored to be starring alongside Kate Winslet in Pan Nalin’s next movie.
The book description follows:
“A native of Bombay, Suketu Mehta gives us an insider’s view of this stunning metropolis. He approaches the city from unexpected angles, taking us into the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs; following the life of a bar dancer raised amid poverty and abuse; opening the door into the inner sanctums of Bollywood; and delving into the stories of the countless villagers who come in search of a better life and end up living on the sidewalks.
A brilliantly illuminating portrait of Bombay and its people – a book as vast, diverse, and rich in experience, incident, and sensation as the city itself – from an award-winning Indian-American fiction writer and journalist. A native of Bombay, Suketu Mehta gives us a true insider’s view of this stunning city, bringing to his account a rare level of insight, detail, and intimacy. He approaches the city from unexpected angles – taking us into the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs who wrest control of the city’s byzantine political and commercial systems . . . following the life of a bar dancer who chose the only life available to her after a childhood of poverty and abuse . . . opening the doors onto the fantastic, hierarchical inner sanctums of Bollywood . . . delving into the stories of the countless people who come from the villages in search of a better life and end up living on the sidewalks – the essential saga of a great city endlessly played out.
Through it all – as each individual story unfolds – we hear Mehta’s own story: of the mixture of love, frustration, fascination, and intense identification he feels for and with Bombay, as he tries to find home again after twenty-one years abroad. And he makes clear that Bombay – the world’s largest city – is a harbinger of the vast megalopolises that will redefine the very idea of “the city” in the near future.”
The book is available on Amazon for around $11. Thanks to /Film reader Jay from London for the tip.