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 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.
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. “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 Balan 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 politician Jayalalithaa, also had to be shelved after director Faisal Saif started receiving threats. Talking about the project, Saif says, “There is too much interference when you try to make the biopic of a politician. Ninety per cent of my film 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,” he adds.
Director Vivek Agnihotri, who is making a film about the mysterious death of India’s second prime minister, 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. 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,” he says.
A source from the industry agrees, saying, “You need the permissions, and the cast of the film has to assure the political party involved that their leader will be shown in the right light.”
Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut is producing the film on Bal Thackeray biopic, and fearless actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui is thrilled about this film. “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.”...