Capital blips on Kidman radar

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By PRATIM D. GUPTA in Calcutta
  • Published 7.10.06

Calcutta, Oct. 7: It’s raining Hollywood in India this year. After Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in autumn, it’s all set to be Nicole Kidman in winter.

The Oscar-winning Australian actress is slated to inaugurate the 2nd India International Women Film Festival (IIWFF) in Delhi on December 11 at the Siri Fort Auditorium.

“Our Los Angeles coordinator has got in touch with her and she has more than shown an interest in coming down for a day,” Shyamali Deb Banerjee, the festival director, told The Telegraph.

The reason for Kidman agreeing to come to India — for the first time — is believed to be that the festival is “a part of India’s women’s empowerment projects”.

The 38-year-old actress has been promoting women’s rights around the world in her role as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (Unifem) and wants to lend solid- arity to the Indian film festival “by, of and for women”.

There’s another reason, too: the screening of Kidman’s new film, Fur — An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus.

The film, based on Patricia Bosworth’s book, is a biopic on Diane Arbus, one of the most revered photographers of the 20th century. Fur’s world premiere led by Kidman herself will open the inaugural Rome International Film Festival later this week on Friday.

Compared with this year’s preparations, elevated by the prospective presence of Kidman, the inaugural edition of the IIWFF last year in Calcutta was markedly low-key.

Inaugurated by Nafisa Ali, the festival held in Swabhumi saw the likes of Sai Paranjpe, Meghna Gulzar and Sonali Kulkarni supporting the cause.

“The response last year was very good and it helped us to dream big for the second edition,” revealed Banerjee.

“This time we are having 130 films from around the world participating in the festival. Oscar-winning German director Caroline Link will be present for her retrospective.

“Other international delegates include Polish actor Joan Nowicki and leading Hungarian filmmaker Marta Meszaros.”

But the presence of Kidman will shift the spotlight on the actress who won the Best Actress Oscar in 2003 for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in The Hours.

The Indian connection for the actress till date has been on two bizarre counts.

First, when the Bhagvad Gita shlokas were used during the controversial sex scenes in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut starring Kidman and then husband Tom Cruise. And next in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge when the China Gate song Chhamma chhamma was used as the background music to a gyrating Kidman.

If she does make it to Delhi in December, it will be a whole new Indian bond with Kidman.