Monday, Jun 17, 2024 | Last Update : 03:22 AM IST

  Entertainment   Bollywood  26 Jun 2018  The politics of politician biopics

The politics of politician biopics

THE ASIAN AGE. | UMA RAMASUBRAMANIAN
Published : Jun 26, 2018, 1:38 am IST
Updated : Jun 26, 2018, 1:38 am IST

It’s not unusual for such films to run into controversy and eventually be shelved.

As an audience, we can only hope that filmmakers are given a fair chance to make great biopics without having to compromise on their scripts.
 As an audience, we can only hope that filmmakers are given a fair chance to make great biopics without having to compromise on their scripts.

Politicians and gangsters have always fascinated B-Town. But while films about gangsters get past the censor board with relative ease, the same cannot be said for films about politicians.

With quite a few political films in the pipeline — including The Accidental Prime Minister based on Manmohan Singh and the biopics of Narendra Modi and Bal Thackeray — filmmakers better brace themselves for controversy and permission issues.

Many people have wanted to make films based on Indira Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Jayalalithaa in the past, but none of those projects has taken off. A few years ago, a biopic of Sonia Gandhi was announced by director Jagmohan Mundra, but the project had to be shelved due to objections from the Congress party.

An Indira Gandhi biopic is another much much-awaited project. Actress Vidya Balan has been approached to play the former Prime Minister, but she wants the filmmakers to have all the necessary permissions in place before starting the project.

99

“As far as Indira Gandhi is concerned, I would love to play her on-screen. But you need the right permissions to make a film on her,” the actress says.

Though Vidya has acquired the adaptation rights to Sagarika Ghosh’s book Indira: India’s Most Powerful Prime Minister, there have been no new developments on that front.

Amma, a biopic of actress-turned-politician Jayalalithaa, also had to be shelved after director Faisal Saif started receiving threats. Talking about the abandoned project, Saif says, “There is too much interference when you try to make the biopic of a politician. 90 per cent of my film, Amma, was completed, but we had to shelve the project after receiving several threats.”

“Party members wanted us to remove the scenes of Jayalalithaa in jail. But if you are making a biopic, you have to present all the facts, you can’t make a one-sided film,” the director adds.

55

Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, who is gearing up to make a film about the mysterious death of India’s second Prime Minister India Lal Bahadur Shastri, knows only too well the struggles of making a film about a politician.

“It’s next to impossible to make films about political icons as we don’t have much research material. Government agencies do not cooperate, and stars don’t want to play such characters because it requires a change of look, a lot of research and character study, and dedication. Besides Aamir, which other star would be ready to do it?” Agnihotri asks.

A source from the industry agrees, saying, “It’s never easy to make a film about a politician. You need the right permissions, and the cast of the film has to assure the political party involved that their leader will be shown in the right light.”

The fact that senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut is producing the film on Bal Thackeray biopic, the fearless actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui is thrilled about it.

“My job is to act. I will grab whatever opportunities I get to play interesting characters. I like complicated characters; I can’t do typical love stories,” Nawazuddin says, adding, “I got this opportunity because of the makers’ confidence in me. Not everyone can pull off this role.”

As an audience, we can only hope that filmmakers are given a fair chance to make great biopics without having to compromise on their scripts.

Tags: politicians, vidya balan, indira gandhi