Durban woman tells of her brush with ‘Diana’

2013-10-28 00:00

KASTHURI Singh (76) admits to experiencing a shiver down her spine when she met Princess Diana recently. Or, to be accurate, when she met the actress Naomi Watts playing the princess in the film Diana, currently on release.

The film tells the story of the last two years of the life of Diana when she had a secret love affair with surgeon Hasnat Khan, played by Naveen Andrews, best known for his role in Lost. Singh plays Khan’s grandmother in Diana.

Though the Isipingo Hills grandmother has appeared in several South African television commercials, her role in Diana is her first on the big screen.

“My agency, who have my photograph, sent lots of the photographs of people on their books to the film-makers in London. The director and producer selected mine and I was told I was chosen for the part,” she said.

In the film, Diana visits Pakistan with Khan to meet his family.

“I played his grandmother, called Nani Appa. When she is introduced to me in the film, I speak in Urdu, saying: ‘She is stunning, she looks like a young lioness’,” said Singh.

The Pakistan scenes were filmed in Mozambique, where Singh spent three days filming on location.

“It was really great. I enjoyed every moment. The actors, the director, the cameraman — they are all such hard-working people,” she said.

Singh spent most of her time with Australian actor Watts, whose major films include The Impossible, Fair Game, King Kong and Mulholland Drive. “Naomi Watts was a wonderful person, very helpful and kind. We became great friends over the time I was there,” said Singh.

Diana is currently showing at Durban Gateway’s Cinema Nouveau, and at CineCentre Midlands and Suncoast.

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