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Nair to helm Fugard’s ‘Tsotsi’

Indian film director Mira Nair, now based in Uganda, is to film an adaptation of one of South African author Athol Fugard’s early works, “Tsotsi,” in South Africa next year.

Announcing this during a short visit to Johannesburg last week as a guest at the Weekly Mail film festival, Nair said she will return to South Africa in December in January for what she expects to be a six- to-eight-week shoot with an all-South African cast.

The novel, in which Fugard attempts to enter the life of a “tsotsi” (one of the numerous thugs that terrorize South Africa’s black townships), is regarded by the author himself as a failure.

Scholars of Fugard, who is better known for his plays “Master Harold … and the Boys,””Road to Mecca” and “Playland” (now playing in San Diego), said last week the novel had fallen out of serious discussion.

However, Nair (“Salaam Bombay” and “Mississippi Masala”) said screenwriter Helena Kriel’s adaptation of the novel had inspired her. “‘Tsotsi’ is a story I have to tell,” she said.

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