Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chromatic Casting: Secret Keeper

I have a severe shortage of reviews planned for the week so I'm just putting up fun posts (hopefully there will be a review Thursday and for sure a review on Saturday along with a guest post and a giveaway will be here before you know it!!)

So my Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins chromatic casting! This idea was first brought to my attention by Ah Yuan at Gal Novelty

Read my Secret Keeper review here

Roshan Seth as Baba (Asha and Reet's father, he's older than their mother) Sarena Pamar as Aunt (doesn't look old or wrinkely but oh well) Anupuam Ker as Uncle
Asha and Reet's mother (Parmindar Nagra on the right, Nandita Das on the left)-I know they are both pretty young to be a mom but she is young in the book and both of them sort of looks like the actress I picked to play Reet (see below) and they are supposed to look alike. I think I may like Nandita better as the mom because she looks more vulnerable and the mother is very reserved, vulnerable and depressed. Thanks Niranjana for the suggestion of Nandita Das!

Afshan Azad as Reet Tillotama Shome as Asha on the right (I really like this photo because Tillotama looks very pensive, which is how I imagine Asha looks constantly as she writes in her Secret Keeper!) Melinda Shakar on the left. I totally forgot about Melinda (Ah Yuan pointed me out to the Canadian TV show How to Be Indie and I recognized Melinda from Degrassi which is Canadian but airs in the U.S. too). I think she would be really good for this role except she always plays girly characters so it'd be interesting to see if she could pull off a tomboy.

Kavi Ladnier as Kavita, Asha's best friend. She looks mischevious just like Kavita is supposed to be :) Thanks Ah Yuan for the recommendation!

Dev Patel as Jay (soooo cute! <3

Here's the thing that's driving me crazy; I can't find someone to play Asha (the main character!) ETA:Found her (2 options actually)

She's supposed to be dark-skinned and I can't seem to find any young dark-skinned Indian actresses *sigh* I'll keep searching. ETA: Thanks Sarah Rettger for the suggestion of Tillotama Shome to play Asha/Osh!
Tillotama is still a bit old to play Asha and it's quite sad and frustrating that there are so few Indian teen actresses out there (I think a young Tatyanna Ali would be really good as Asha but I want to use Indian actors)

ETA: One of Mitali's sons will be Raj (Asha's cousin, in his late teens, goes to college). However since we have no picture of him, I'm open to other teenage Indian guy actors ;)

So if you've read the book do you agree/disagree with my choices? Leave a comment with your own casting choices. Also, what book should I cast next?


  1. ... I need to read this book. And eeeeeee Dev Patel.

    I was going to name this girl who was in a short called Dry Clean Only, starring Aaron Yoo, but then I looked her up, (Kavi Ladnier) and all the pictures I find of her make her look uber uber pale, which is weird because she didn't look like that in the short film. It looks suspiciously to me like her shots are being airbrushed to 'whiten' her and that's just not cool, but then I've only seen her in one short so maybe I don't have any leg in to say anything. Also, I'm not sure if she corresponds with the age of Asha anyhow. ^^;;

    The referred short can be seen here

  2. Hmmm... maybe Tillotama Shome? I think she's still a little too girly for Osh, but that's what the makeup department is for :-)

    I have to say, though, you are so right about Roshan Seth. He always looks sad no matter who he's playing, and he's just right for Baba.

  3. I haven't read this one yet but I want to. Anupam Kher is such a great actor!

    About your comment regarding the difficulty in finding darker skinned young Indian actresses to "cast" as Asha it could be because of the tendency of Bollywood to make stars out of Indian girls who are "fair". According to the older generations, the fairer (lighter) your skin, the prettier you are considered to look and the better your matrimonial prospects. Even my mom's generation had that belief and she and my aunt always tried to avoid getting darker during the summer. I remember one summer when my sister and I were both more tanned than usual one of my aunts suggested rubbing limes on our skin to lighten it. My sister and I just ignored that because we don't feel that way. I think that old belief could be why there are so many women in Indian films that are lighter skinned. It is sad that this belief is still there.

  4. I haven't read this yet, but I think it's so sad you couldn't find a dark-skinned Bollywood actress! How DEPRESSING. I agree with Christina above- a lot of darker-skinned Indians probably don't get to be actresses...

  5. I have seen the girl from ER/ Bend it Like Beckham in many chromatic castings. She's a popular choice. Way cool and fun post.

  6. Just stopping by to leave you an award!
    Check it out!

  7. Ok, my last two comments on your blog haven't gone through but I want to try again b/c your casting really makes me want to read this book! I love Roshan Seth...

  8. Zowee! You made me SMILE FROM EAR TO EAR!!! I love your suggestions, Ari. Hey, Bollywood! Are you listening????

  9. @Ah Yuan- READ IT! Kavi Ladnier is a good choice, older than Asha who is 17 but she could probably fit as well. I think maybe I'll add her as asha's best friend or her aunt. I'll go re-read to see if the Aunt is young. Thanks for the suggestion!

    @Sarah-Tillotama is a great choice for Asha! As you can see, I added her :) As soon as I saw that particular picture of Roshan Seth, I thought Bapa.

    @Christina-I've only seen Anupuam in Bend it Like Beckham but he was good in that movie. Do read secret Keeper, the issue of light vs. dark skin is addressed there. Asha is described as the 'ugly sister' because she is dark and skinny compared to her sister Reet who is light and curvy. It's ot just Bollywood either, in the past (and to some degree still today) African Americans and Latinos have the same attidues that "if you're light, you're alright."

    @Aarti-I know, I realized this and it made me sad. I hate how society today still preaches that the lighter you are, the better you are and the farther you'll go.

    @Jeanine-That's good and bad. Good because she's so talented and beautiful, but bad because I think people tend to do it because there are so few Indian actresses out there in American film (she was literally the first actress to pop into my head when I decided to cast this movie).


    @Zetta-I actually haven't seen anything with Roshan Seth, I just did some research of Indian actors and found his picture and thought 'perfect'. I wish I knew more Indian actors and actresses.

    @Mitali Perkins-Hooray! LOL I think Secret Keeper should totally be made a movie, and if Bollywood made it, it would be the first Bollywood movie I've watched (I need to watch some anyway, I've heard good things about them). I just wish that there was more diversity amongst the actors and actresses!

  10. Ah! Definitely want to read this one. Anything where you could cast Dev Patel = <3 SO CUTE would be an understatement. :D I always think of him when I read BORN CONFUSED by Tanuja Desai Hidier.

  11. @Maggie-He is so cuuutttee! I love him ass Zuko in the Last Avatar, he will be amazing (hate how it's whitewashed but he's an excellent casting choice). I haven't read Born Confused yet! It's another book everyone loves that I haven't read yet (along with Bleeding Violet and Jacqueline Woodson's work). Ah, I must read it soon!

  12. OMG I'M SUCH AN IDIOT!! I just realized that I *do* know a bunch of Indian actors/actresses who aren't all fair-skinned. There's this show in Canada right now about an Indo-Canadian teenager dealing with friends and family and school, etc called How to be Indie. I've seen in on my tv when I channel surf, but haven't gotten around to sitting down and watching it, but you should be able to find loads of teen stars to work with for this chromatic casting.

  13. hi Ari! I'm reading SK right now for reviewing for Eclectica, and I had to comment on your wonderful post! Nice job on the casting--I think you have an interesting potential career ahead :) Re: suggestions, do consider the dark-skinned (and smoking hot) Nandita Das for the mother's role.

  14. @Ah Yuan-There's actually not that many, 3. But 3 is better than none! I totally forgot about Melissa Shakar (I watch Degrassi sometimes), she seems very girly though, not really Asha but she's definitely younger than my current pick so I'll add her. Thank you! Canada has more diverse shows/cast than the U.S. it seems like

    @Niranjana-Haha this would be such a fun career to have, casting for movies :) Nandita Das is beautiful. I'll add her as the mom or the aunt (although the aunt is supposed to look old). I loved Secret Keeper so much :)


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