Exclusive: Twinkle Khanna's daughter may have given Christopher Nolan a name for his Tenet sequel
Yes, it’s a palindrome
Like runners who train for months before a marathon, Christopher Nolan movies often require you to hit a mental treadmill to prepare your brain for what it’s about to witness. His latest mindboggler, Tenet, is perhaps his most baffling, most ambitious project yet. The “globe-trotting spy thriller” has left even the actors admitting they perhaps need to watch it once more to fully understand it. While the director waits for the rest of us to catch up, atleast he doesn’t have to worry about a name if the studio decided it wants a follow-up film.
All thanks to Twinkle Khanna’s daughter.
Sitting down with Nolan for a chat, the Tweak founder reveals, “Tenet is a palindrome which means it’s the same backwards and forwards, and you’re doing that with time which is completely baffling. I was trying to explain that to my son, and my little one stood up and she said, ‘I know a word like that’.”
“And unfortunately that word turned out to be poop.”
Nolan bursts into laughter, retorting, “I can use that for the sequel, right?”
Regaining his composure, the director explains how he flew into Mumbai for less than 24 hours, camera in tow, to audition Khanna’s mother, Dimple Kapadia. Except when they met, she immediately tried to convince him she wasn’t right for a role in Tenet. Then proceeded to suggest other actors who would better bring Priya, the arms dealer from Mumbai, to life.
“I don’t know what goes into that thinking on the part of a great actor,” Nolan says. “It’s not the first time, I still remember meeting Liam Neeson for a part in Batman Begins, and he immediately started recommending other actors, saying, ‘No no, you don’t want me’.”
“When she came back and told me what all she did in the audition, I was convinced she would never get the part,” Khanna admits.
Luckily for everybody, Kapadia’s self-deprecation only made Nolan more determined to cast her.
“If anything, it makes you more excited to work with that person because you see a sense of modesty and nervousness, in a way, and that’s the kind of creative person you want to collaborate with,” Nolan explains, adding, “The charisma and poise that she has, and the depth of experience was immediately apparent. She says she was nervous, but it was a very fun audition for me. And I always knew that there would be this exciting moment when Dimple would turn up in Tallinn in Estonia, and we would get to work together.”
While making his globe-trotting spy thriller, Nolan was determined to shoot in Mumbai, and really infuse the city’s spirit into Tenet. “The architecture of Mumbai, the scale, the mixture of eras, it’s extremely inspiring. As a filmmaker, you want to grab your camera. But what I didn’t want to do was use it as a backdrop,” he recalls.
“I wanted to have a story connection, to really have someone who’s from that world and that’s what Dimple and I were able to create together.”