Vidya Balan walks out of Kamala Das biopic; director Kamal hints at possible right-wing pressure

FP Staff

Jan 12, 2017 11:18:33 IST

Vidya Balan's Malayalam jinx strikes back. Once again, she has opted out of a Malayalam film in Aami, the biopic on poet Kamala Das, which was being directed by the National Award-winning filmmaker Kamaluddin Muhammed, better known as Kamal.

 Vidya Balan walks out of Kamala Das biopic; director Kamal hints at possible right-wing pressure

Vidya Balan. Reuters image

Hindustan Times reports that while Balan has cited divergent approaches to the process as the reason behind the abandonment, Kamal suspects that it could be because of right-wing pressure being exerted upon the actor, though he clarifies that there is no proof of the same.

The Indian Express reports that Balan was being pressurised by Shiv Sena to back out of the project. There were speculations initially as well that Hindu right-wing religious outfits are miffed with Balan agreeing to get into the shoes of Das, a controversial figure, who converted to Islam in the latter half of her life.

However, Mumbai Mirror reports that Balan had given her nod to the film and was in fact excited to play the role. She even read Das' autobiography titled My Story and started taking lessons to pick up Malayalam. However, in the same interview to the daily, she stated,  "I’m still wondering if she was who she’s made out to be, pretending to be her or misunderstood, hoping to get some answers at some point during the film."

Balan sought answers on the same from her director. She thought that she was still not prepared for her role and wished to spend some more time with Kamal to get into the skin of the character. She also suggested a few changes in the script and did not approve of the final draft. Hence, she decided to walk out of the film amicably. Her agent has rubbished the news of her backing out due to any political reasons, according to the report by Hindustan Times.

Kamal's statement, however, paints a different picture. The director invited the ire of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Hindu religious outfit, when he lent his support to some members of the audience who did not stand up while the National Anthem was being played at the International Film Festival of Kerala.

Kerala has also been in news recently for the shooting strikes and halting down of operations of 350 theaters as a mark of protest during the ongoing tiff between Kerala Film Exhibitors' Federation and distributors and producers over sharing of collections. Hindustan Times reports that Balan had stopped shooting for the film, her manager stating that the dates had been slightly pushed owing to the film strike.

Irrespective of the reason, Balan's Malayalam jinx seems to be on a roll. The Times of India reports that Kamal's 2003 film Chakram was supposed to be Balan's Malayalam cinema debut but the film was eventually done by Meera Jasmine as even Kamal had walked out of the film. It is quite a strange coincidence that Balan has walked out of another project after 14 long years in spite of the fact that her roots belong to Kerala.

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Updated Date: Jan 12, 2017 11:18:33 IST