Anushka Shetty, Aishwarya Rai, Vidya Balan in talks to play Jayalalithaa in upcoming biopic: All you need to know

Surendhar MK

August 26, 2018 13:14:18 IST

The illustrious life of the late former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa is all set to be made into a biographical film soon. However, as of now, three filmmakers — Vijay, Priyadarshini, Bharathiraja — are competing to narrate the story of one of India's most daring politicians, who breathed her last in December 2016, which created a rift in her party followed by a turbulent phase in Tamil Nadu politics.

News 18

File image of Jayalalithaa. Image via News 18

Director Vijay was the first to make an official announcement on the Jayalalithaa biopic before the other two filmmakers declared that they had been planning to helm the same subject. On the occasion of Independence Day, it was announced that Vijay would direct the film as a trilingual in Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi. Vibri Media, which is bankrolling Ranveer Singh's cricket drama 83 and Nandamuri Balakrishna's NTR biopic, was revealed as the film's producer.

“Madam Dr J Jayalalithaa was one of those rare regional leaders who went on to become a force to reckon with in Indian politics. Her life is an inspiration for women around the world. This film will be a tribute to her achievements, both in cinema and politics. We will launch the movie on her birthday, 24 February, 2019. The first look of the film will also be released on the same day,” Brinda Prasad Adusumilli, director of Vibri Media and Chairperson SIIMA, said in an official statement.

It was during the same time Nayanthara, in a rare television appearance to promote her film Kolamaavu Kokila, expressed her desire to play the role of Jayalalithaa if someone translates her story to the silver screen. "I'm not sure if it is right. But, if given a chance, I would love to play Jayalalithaa on screen," she said. Unconfirmed reports suggested that Vijay had already initiated talks with Nayanthara to play the titular role in the biopic.

A day later, on 16 August, debutant filmmaker Priyadarshini, an erstwhile associate of Mysskin and who is currently helming an untitled project with Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, released an official statement announcing her plans to direct the Jayalalithaa biopic. She said that the film would be made in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Hindi languages. Like Vijay, Priyadarshini also declared that the project would go on floors on 24 February, 2019, to coincide with the birth anniversary of Jayalalithaa. She also added that an official announcement on the film's cast and crew would be made on 20 September, 2018.

"For human beings, especially for women and that too for a lonely woman, this life gives immense stress and problems. It is only through a gracious way of life and great inner strength, the conflicts can be conquered. Here stands the outstanding figure in Indian History who surpassed all the obstacles in her way and conquered the hearts of millions - Dr J Jayalalithaa. For the last four months, we were discussing and working on the making of the visual history of the iron lady who is still alive in the hearts of millions of Tamilians," said Priyadarshini in an official statement, adding that leading actors will portray the characters in the movie.

Now, the latest to join the bandwagon is veteran filmmaker Bharathiraja, who has announced his plan to return to direction after five years with the Jayalalithaa biopic. Aditya Bharadwaj of Y-Star Cine and Television Private Limited have been announced as the film's producer. In fact, the third team went a step further and announced the title of their biopic as Amma - Puratchi Thalaivi.

Producer Aditya Bharadwaj confirmed to Times Of India that they would begin the film's shooting from December and that the pre-production work was almost done. He also revealed that talks have been initiated with both Anushka Shetty and Aishwarya Rai to essay the role of Jayalalithaa. Interestingly, Kalpana, one of the characters played by Aishwarya Rai in her dual role in Mani Ratnam's classic political drama Iruvar, was modeled on Jayalalithaa. The project, where she co-starred with Mohanlal, also marked her on-screen debut.

Anushka Shetty, Aishwarya Rai and Vidya Balan.

Anushka Shetty, Aishwarya Rai and Vidya Balan.

Now, according to sources, Mohanlal has been approached to play the role of MGR in the Jayalalithaa biopic, which is to be directed by Bharathiraja. In Iruvar, Mohanlal played the role of Anandan, which was written based on MGR's life.

Meanwhile, Vibri Media is believed to have escalated things quickly. "Vibri Media will be the frontrunner to do this film. They are completely aware of the competition and are well-equipped to pull off this project on a grand scale and handle this situation. Vidya Balan has also been approached the play the role of Jaya," informs a source from director Vijay's camp.

With three filmmakers vying to narrate the rollercoaster life story of one of Tamil Nadu's most respected politicians, the news around the biopic is now eagerly watched by her legion of fans and party cadres with bated breath.

Updated Date: Aug 26, 2018 13:14 PM