South African film-makers of Indian origin Mehboob Bawa and Razia Rawoot, who have purchased the rights of the book Love in the Time of Treason, are looking for Indian partners for funding and distribution.

The Zubeida Jaffer book is the real life story of Ayesha Dawood, a South African national of Indian origin who was part of the anti-apartheid movement led by Nelson Mandela, and an Indian Yusuf Mukadam, hailing from the coastal belt of Konkan in the 1950s.

The book has been adapted into a script by Paul Ian Johnson and the producers are looking to India for a director and two male actors to play Ayesha's husband and father.

Mehboob said he has held meetings with various film studios.

“We are in the process of meeting various companies and it is too early to say anything. But the meetings we had with Cinergy and others, lead us to believe that we will at least find distribution partners in India,” he said.

“I have sent the script to Shekhar Kapur. Yashraj were more positive about the film's potential ,” he added.

Mehboob, an actor-writer and radio and TV presenter whose family migrated to South Africa from Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, said his debut film project is budgeted at USD 10 million and he plans to shoot eight weeks in Ayesha's hometown Worcester and three weeks in India.

He said Irrfan Khan has been approached for the role of Ayesha's husband and Om Puri is being considered for the father's role. The female lead will be a South African actress.

Ayesha, 82, lives in Cape Town and has been a dedicated anti-apartheid activist and a member of the African National Congress.

Her father Ahmed Tambe had migrated from Konkan to South Africa and settled there by marrying a South African woman.

In 1949, a young Ayesha, with the support of her father, became the first South African woman of Indian origin to represent the ANC at a conference in Copenhagen.

“She stood with others like Mandela during the infamous treason trials. Her family home was raided and her relatives harassed. She was repeatedly arrested and imprisoned,” Mehboob said. - PTI