"The Goddess"

NRI, Suketu Mehta penning Merchant-Ivory film

New Delhi, Sep 26, 2004

New York-based Indian author Suketu Mehta is penning the next Merchant-Ivory production "The Goddess" starring Tina Turner in the lead role.

Directed and produced by the duo of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, "The Goddess" is inspired by an old Indian fable of a ghost who asks riddles to a king.

"Tina Turner is playing the goddess and she will sing four songs composed by tabla maestro Zakir Hussain," Mehta told IANS. He is now on a tour of India to promote his new book on Mumbai, "Maximum City: Bombay Lost & Found".

"The songs would be in English with snatches of different languages," he said.

Suketu Mehta is a fiction writer and journalist based in New York
Penning the next Merchant-Ivory production "The Goddess" starring Tina Turner in the lead role.

Suketu Mehta is a fiction writer

Suketu Mehta is a fiction writer and journalist based in New York. He has won the Whiting Writers Award, the O. Henry Prize, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for his fiction. Mehta's work has been published in the New York Times Magazine, Granta, Harper's magazine, Time, Condé Nast Traveler, and The Village Voice, and has been featured on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. Mehta also cowrote Mission Kashmir, a Bollywood movie.

Mehta was born in Calcutta and raised in Bombay and New York. He is a graduate of New York University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

He is currently writing an original screenplay for 'The Goddess,' a Merchant-Ivory film starring Tina Turner.

Bombay native Mehta fills his kaleidoscopic portrait of "the biggest, fastest, richest city in India" with captivating moments of danger and dismay. Returning to Bombay (now known as Mumbai) from New York after a 21-year absence, Mehta is depressed by his beloved city's transformation, now swelled to 18 million and choked by pollution. Investigating the city's bloody 1992-1993 riots, he meets Hindus who massacred Muslims, and their leader, the notorious Godfather-like founder of the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party, Bal Thackeray, "the one man most directly responsible for ruining the city I grew up in." Daring to explore further the violent world of warring Hindu and Muslim gangs, Mehta travels into the city's labyrinthine criminal underworld with tough top cop Ajay Lal, developing an uneasy familiarity with hit men who display no remorse for their crimes. Mehta likewise deploys a gritty documentary style when he investigates Bombay's sex industry, profiling an alluring, doomed dancing girl and a cross-dressing male dancer who leads a strange double life. Mehta includes so-called "Bollywood" in his sweeping account of Bombay's subcultures: he hilariously recounts, in diary style, day-to-day life on the set among the aging male stars of the action movie Mission Kashmir. Mehta, winner of a Whiting Award and an O. Henry Prize, is a gifted stylist. His sophisticated voice conveys postmodern Bombay with a carefully calibrated balance of wit and outrage, harking back to such great Victorian urban chroniclers as Dickens and Mayhew while introducing the reader to much that is truly new and strange. Agent, Faith Childs Literary Agency.


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