Movie producer returns to Silverbow with short film

Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2005

New York film producer Jen Small has felt a connection to the Silverbow Inn since she visited Juneau two years ago. She and her husband stayed at the Second Street bed and breakfast, and he proposed to her during the trip.

"Juneau has a special resonance for me," she said. "If I was ever going to run away and move to Alaska, I would have wanted to at the Silverbow."

Small returns this weekend with "Cosmopolitan," a 53-minute film about Gopal (Roshan Seth), a middle-aged Indian man who tries to reinvent his love life using tips from the magazine of the same name.

"Cosmopolitan" plays at 8 p.m. Friday at the Back Room at the Silverbow. Admission is free, and Small will stick around after the screening to answer questions.

The movie co-stars Carol Kane (as Mrs. Shaw, the next-door neighbor), formerly of "Taxi," "Hester Street" and "Annie Hall." The story was adapted for film by Sabrina Dhawan, who also wrote "Monsoon Wedding."

Small co-produced "Cosmo- politan" for Gigantic Pictures, an independent production company in New York. The movie has screened at a handful of American film festivals, as well as on the PBS show "Independent Lens."

'Cosmopolitan'

when: 8 p.m. friday.

where: back room at the silverbow.

She decided to produce the film after reading Ahkil Sharma's original eight-page story, included in "The Best American Short Stories 1998."

"I fell in love with the story and knew it could somehow be a movie," Small said.

Gopal is an Indian-American suburbanite who's been married to his wife, Madhu (Madhur Jaffrey), for more than 20 years. One day, she and his daughter, Geetu (Purva Bedi), abandon him. He decides to reclaim his life and tries to seduce his neighbor (Kane) with tips from Bollywood films and Cosmopolitan issues that his wife left around the house.

"It was a character I'd never really seen before," Small said. "Very rarely do you see middle-aged Indian men as romantic leads. You also very rarely get to see middle-aged women as romantic leads. And it was also a universal story about trying to make a romantic connection at any point in your life. More than anything, it's actually really funny."

"Cosmopolitan" was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Asian American Television Association and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Director Nisha Ganatra's first feature-length film, "Chutney Popcorn," won awards at a handful of international film festivals. She also directed "Real World New York" for MTV and worked on a film with Heather Graham, which is due out within six months.

Dhawan wrote "Monsoon Wedding" while studying film in graduate school at Columbia University. Gigantic hired her just before "Monsoon" won the Golden Lion in Venice.

"She did a wonderful job of opening up the story," Small said. "We wanted to have a real Bollywood musical sense in it, and she did a wonderful job to make all those elements work. She just expanded the story and turned it into something I didn't imagine it could be."

• Korry Keeker can be reached at korry.keeker@juneauempire.com.



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