After tossing between Rani Mukherji, Bipasha Basu and Nandita Das for a lead role in I am Afia, Onir Nair has at last come to a decision. And the role goes to…Nandita Das!
The award winning actress and director will be seen in the lead role of I am Afia which is to be a film based on the sperm donation system in India. Initially the script of Afia was about the misappropriation of NGO funds in India, however because the panel at Goa Film Bazar Script Doctoring Workshop felt the film didn’t fit with the other four short films that are part of the I Am series, Onir decided to change the script completely and thus was born this script about a 40+ woman who’s biological clock is ticking. In its initial stages the film was to star Kalki Koechlin who made her debut in Anruag Kashyap’s Dev.D and immediately received attention and acclaim from both audiences and critics alike. However, when the script developed into something else, Kalki was no longer the right choice. Naturally rumors spread that Onir and Kalki were now on bad terms, but the director has delivered several statements denying this and even went on to say that Kalki perfectly understood the need for the script change and a new leading lady.
I am Afia will be based in Kolkata and scouting for a location has been done. Bengali will be a significant part of the film, Nandita herself being from Kolkata too. Nandita’s character is said to be originally from Delhi, however for this important moment in her life she comes to Kolkata. Purab Kohli will be essaying the role of the sperm donor, a college student. The director says that he feels this is quite a reunion for the team of My Brother Nikhil because Sanjay Suri and Juhi Chawla are present too!
Speaking about his research to TOI, the director said the the most shocking fact that he’s uncovered has been that in India the donor can be the father or brother in law of the woman in question and in addition there are occasions where they allow an impotent husband to witness his wife having sex with the donor! As to what other shocking revelation Onir will make through I Am Afia and his other four films, well that’s something for us to look forward to when these series of short films, 20 minutes each, finally hit the silver screen!