Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jennifer Zobair's "Painted Hands"

Jennifer Zobair grew up in Iowa and attended Smith College and Georgetown Law School. She has practiced corporate and immigration law and as a convert to Islam, has been a strong advocate for Muslim women's rights. Zobair lives with her husband and three children outside of Boston, Massachusetts.

Here Zobair dreamcasts an adaptation of Painted Hands, her first novel:
Whenever people talk about Painted Hands as a movie, it’s clear that Zainab is the first character everyone wants to cast. She’s this brilliant, gorgeous, sharp-tongued political campaign staffer of Indian and Pakistani descent, and my agent and I both agree that Archie Panjabi from The Good Wife and Bend It Like Beckham would make a very fabulous Zainab. Panjabi is poised and smart and beautiful, and seems so comfortable in her own skin. She reminds me quite a bit of Zainab.

Zainab’s best friend, Amra, is a lawyer, and as you might expect, a little more reserved and diplomatic. I think Parminder Nagra, also from Bend It Like Beckham and ER, would be perfect—attractive with sort of that “nice girl” vibe. Amra’s love interest in the book is Mateen, and I have her refer to his “Shahid Kapoor good looks,” so really, I think it would only be right for Kapoor (of Bollywood fame) to play him.

Amra’s colleague, Hayden, struggles with body image issues and relationships with men, and eventually dabbles in fundamentalist Islam (where “dabbles in” means “sort of loses herself because of a guy”). She’s blond and pretty and troubled, and after seeing Silver Linings Playbook, I think  Jennifer Lawrence would be a perfect Hayden.

That brings us to Chase, the thirty-something, right wing talk radio host who publicly attacks Zainab for her Muslim background, but privately is ridiculously, madly infatuated with her. The first time she meets him, Zainab notes that he is “good looking for a white boy.” He’s smart and politically opportunistic. Also, he has a girlfriend. Despite these questionable qualities, he also has this very playful sense of humor and genuine caregiving capacity. So I’m going to go with James Marsden from 27 Dresses. I think he could capture both the unsavory aspects of Chase’s persona and the good nature that lurks beneath all that.

It would be incredible to have A.R. Rahman score the movie, but there’d better be some Pearl Jam somewhere in there, just to make the author of the novel smile.
Learn more about the book and author at Jennifer Zobair's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Painted Hands.

--Marshal Zeringue