By Adam Spunberg

India and Pakistan have not always gotten along — or so I’ve heard — but that could be changing. Today, in what is perhaps the most important 

"I have faith in relations between people"

collaboration since the Partition of 1947, India’s @kalsnats and Pakistan’s @Farah_Khan1 share their love for the age-old classic, My Fair Lady.

Why the sudden discussion? Aside from the fact that there never needs to be a reason for gushing about the 1964 Best Picture winner, plans are in the works for a remake. How do our South Asian experts feel about this new development? I asked them and got some spectacular answers, worthy of any region!

(Before we go on, check out Kals’ AMAZING BLOG and Farah’s BREATHTAKING ARTWORK. Really, DO IT!)

How do you feel about there being a remake of My Fair Lady? Would you rather they didn’t make it, or are you excited to see a new version?

Kals: Part of me would rather not have a remake of My Fair Lady because the one starring Rex Harrison and the wonderful Audrey Hepburn will always be the definitive version for me. But part of me thinks that if given the right treatment (and I hope it will be), a new version of My Fair Lady is definitely a fascinating opportunity. Though I’m a proud member of the ‘Read-the-book-first-then-watch-the-movie’ league, Pygmalion is one of the books I’m afraid I haven’t read yet. I’m hoping that news of a new version of My Fair Lady will make me read the book and inspire interest among many others to read Shaw 🙂

Farah: About three years ago I watched My Fair Lady (1964) for the first time and when I watched it, I just fell in love with it. When you eat a chocolate, you want to eat it again and something similar happened to me, and I watched it again and again many times. It was more than just an entertainment. A very beautiful story which got written in my heart and mind. I was against the remake as my view was “Let the original go platinum.” Some things are masterpieces and monumental e.g nobody will ever be able to make another Pyramid or Colosseum. But when I read that it is being written by Emma Thompson, my view changed. A very talented lady as she is. We can’t doubt her writing. I have seen her Sense and Sensibility, Remains of the Day, and Nanny McPhee. And I became a fan of her. I would like to watch her remake.

Carey Mulligan is rumored to be the next Eliza Doolittle. She is very popular from her work in An Education and Pride & Prejudice: can she emulate Audrey Hepburn?

Kals: Considering I’ve seen her only as giggling, perfectly annoying Kitty Bennet, I can’t really say. I’ve seen rave reviews of An Education, and I think she looks like a good choice. I’d rather not compare her to Audrey Hepburn.

Is that Carey or Audrey?

Hepburn springs to my mind in seconds the moment anyone says Eliza Doolittle. She’s that phenomenal in my opinion 🙂

Farah: When you really adore a person or think of that person as your role model, to then watch someone else take that person’s place is bit hard to accept. Carey Mulligan is a wonderful actress but Audrey Hepburn is a legend and an icon. If these classical movies are famous, they are famous because of them. Fair Lady was meant for Audrey and Audrey for Fair Lady. She is one of the reasons why I love My Fair Lady.

You’ve become devoted fans from as far away as India and Pakistan, respectively. How did you develop such an interest in musicals?

Kals: If you’ve seen Bollywood movies, you’ll know Indians love music so much so that most of our commercial movies are, by Western definition, ‘musicals’ indeed 😉 My Fair Lady was the first English musical I saw. I remember coming home after a particularly annoying day and being treated to this legendary musical. It was love at first sight and inspired me enough to soon practice saying ‘How kind of you to let me come!’ along with Eliza. Sound of Music is another all-time favourite movie.

Farah: I saw a DVD in a shop and on its cover there was a lovely lady standing on green grass and “Sound of Music” was written on it. I felt maybe I should watch it and so I bought it. When I watched it, I really loved it and wanted to watch more movies like it. Some of my favorites are West Side Story, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, Singing in the Rain, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, King and I and Sound of Music.

Some people are suggesting Colin Firth for Henry Higgins. Do you find it funny that he could go from playing a man who has trouble speaking (in The King’s Speech) to a speech expert?

Kals: That is delicious irony! 🙂 But if there’s anyone who can pull it off, it is definitely Mr. Firth, whose masterful performance in The King’s Speech made me become a fan all over again. I’d love to see Alan Rickman (who has the most amazing voice) play Henry Higgins though. I think he’d be excellent as well.

Farah:
Colin Firth has captured many hearts around the globe. I am sure people would love to see him as Professor Higgins. I think sometimes it is difficult for the actor himself to play completely opposite roles. For instance, Gregory Peck had always played the roles of a good gentleman. Once, he played a villain’s role, but people did not accept it as they always thought of him as a good man. When people think of Mr. Firth, they think of Mr. Darcy. In my opinion, I think Hugh Grant is perfect for the role of Professor Higgins, because he has a gift — as Professor Higgins would say — “a gift of an articulate speech.”

Do you think Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle were meant for each other?

Kals: To laugh, converse, fall in love, and learn from each other, definitely.

Farah: I think they definitely are. When two people are made for each other, it means they share the same nature at a certain angle. Professor Higgins took it only as a challenge to teach Eliza and felt that being a bachelor was fine – he planned to always be. He tells Colonel Pickering about it: “Let a woman in a life, like a plunge of a knife.” And in the end, he is the one who sings “I am accustomed to her face.”

This is what Eliza did; she came only to learn and to become a lady in a flower shop. She hated Higgins at first and sang, “Just you wait ‘enry ‘iggins, just you wait. You’ll be sorry but it’ll be too late.” Thus, she goes to Freddy, but in the end she returns back to Higgins. They both pretended to be selfish but in reality, they carry affection for each other which they themselves didn’t know, and realized it after staying away. When one feels he has a missing part, his companion fulfills it and he fulfills his companions’ missing part. Higgins felt he would be happy if alone, but he was not. And things changed after the coming of Eliza. As for Eliza, she had a dream and its interpretation came in a form of Higgins, who made her dreams come true.

What’s your favorite song in My Fair Lady?

Kals: This is a cruel question! To ask me to pick just one out of such witty, wonderful songs. I’ll pick two: ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ for being so unforgettable, romantic, and absolutely beautiful. And ‘Why can’t the English?’ for being so delightfully witty.

Farah: I love all the songs, but the first song I memorized was “Wouldn’t it be Loverly.” I really liked it. She looked so cute in that song. It was bit touching too how people have their dreams and imaginations which only they can feel.

Is there one scene in particular that you love most of all?

Kals: That. Eliza learns to say ‘The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain,’ and after everything else she’s been taught, Higgins absolutely can’t believe that she’s ‘finally got it!” Pickering, Eliza, and Higgins sing and dance, ecstatic, happy and proud. I usually have a wide, wide smile when I see that scene.

Rain in Spain?

Farah: The ascot scene and all the scenes in which Higgins is teaching Eliza, especially the strawberry tart scene.

Does the rain in Spain stay mainly in the plain?

Farah: The rain in Spain may not often stay in the plain, but the stormy clouds have surely covered this ‘remake project,’ as it is taking too long and facing some obstacles.

Adam Spunberg is a senior writer at Picktainment and founder of the Austen Twitter Project. Email him at adam@picktainment.com or tweet @AdamSpunberg.