Friday, May 31, 2013

A.X. Ahmad's "The Caretaker"

A.X. Ahmad was raised in India, educated at Vassar College and M.I.T., and has worked internationally as an architect. His short stories have been published in literary magazines, and he’s been listed in Best American Essays. The Caretaker is his first novel, to be followed by Bollywood Taxi next year. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Here Ahmad dreamcasts a big screen adaptation of The Caretaker:
Readers say that my thriller, The Caretaker would make a great movie.

It is the first mainstream thriller set in America with an Indian protagonist. It moves between a gray, snowy winter in Martha’s Vineyard, and a backstory set in vibrant India. It features both a love story and an explosive political plot. If you like multicultural, brainy thrillers, with real characters, then this would be the movie for you.

But when my literary agent approached some movie folks, they balked.

“How can there an Indian action hero?” they said. “Indians can be computer programmers or doctors. Even terrorists. But not the star of a thriller.”

Since I’m already doomed, imagining my book as a movie is a purely academic exercise. But what the hell, an Indian can dream, can’t he?

The director of course would be Mira Nair (The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Monsoon Wedding).

Ranjit Singh, the protagonist of my book, was once an elite soldier, but in America he is now essentially a servant. To play this proud, broken man, I’d choose Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor.

Ranjit’s love interest, Anna, is the African-American wife of a US Senator. Anna, sexy as all hell and very intelligent, would of course be played by the great Halle Berry. Her husband, the lumbering, deal-making Senator, would have to be Forest Whitaker.

There is also a ghost—one of Ranjit’s dead former comrades who haunts him. Om Puri, with his scarred face and haunting voice, is the obvious choice.

Soundtrack by A.R. Rahman, who combines techno and house with traditional Indian music. If you haven’t heard his work, run out and buy the Dil Se soundtrack.

Oh yeah. And I’d like a cameo. Maybe I could be one of the homeless people that Ranjit runs into in Boston when he’s on the run. Wait. Can homeless people be Indian? I’ll have to check with Central Casting.
Learn more about the book and author at A.X. Ahmad's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: The Caretaker.

Writers Read: A.X. Ahmad.

--Marshal Zeringue