After Mira Nair’s Salam Bombay, Irrfan Khan owes much of his international success to British director Asif Kapadia. In The Warrior (2001), which was directed by Asif, Irrfan played the role of Lafcadia, an enforcer in the employ of a cruel lord in Rajasthan. The first directorial venture of British-Indian filmmaker won the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film at the BAFTA awards.
After hiatus of more than 15 years, Irrfan and Asif are coming together in a film Moth Smoke, which is based on Pakistani writer Mohsin Ahmed’s novel.
Asif, who directed the critically acclaimed, Oscar-winning documentary Amy on the life of Amy Winehouse, will also co-write the film.
Irrfan will play the protagonist Darashikoh Shehzad, who’s a down-on-luck man grappling with a financial crisis when his rich best friend Aurangzeb moves back to Lahore. In the film, Shehzad begins an affair with Aurangzeb’s wife.
The rest of the cast will be decided in the coming months.
“I have been eagerly waiting for something on which I could work with Asif again [after The Warrior (2001)], and ‘Moth Smoke’ excites both of us,” said Irrfan. “We believe it can be set in contemporary times.”
It is unclear where the film will be shot at present.
“Given the ongoing political tension between India and Pakistan, it is not immediately clear where the film will be shot. It is too early to decide on location. We will consider both Pakistan and India for the shoot,” producer Dina Dattani said.
This is Mohsin Hamid’s second novel to be adapted into a film after The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which was directed by Mira Nair and starred Riz Ahmed as the main character.