The Jayalalitha biopic, helmed by director Priyadharshini, has been titled as The Iron Lady. The first-look poster of the film, sporting a dark green colour symbolising the former chief minister’s political party, was unveiled recently.
A spokesperson for the film told Silverscreen that the makers are in the process of finalising the cast. As of now, Nithya Menen is set to play the role of Jayalalitha. Confusion prevailed recently when AR Murugadoss, who had been asked to unveil the poster, tagged Varalakshmi Sarathkumar in the tweet and wished her well. However, the spokesperson clarified that Nithya will be essaying Jayalalitha and not Varalakshmi.
— A.R.Murugadoss (@ARMurugadoss) September 20, 2018
Roles of MG Ramachandran – the late actor-turned-politician who founded the AIADMK and mentored Jayalalitha, and Kalaignar Karunanidhi – her fiercest critic and other such luminaries from the film industry and politics are still being cast.
This is rather a difficult task as all these stalwarts were well-known and revered for their personal quirks. Director Balakrishnan, who is attached to the MGR biopic, shared recently that he found it difficult to find established actors to essay the roles of Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi on-screen. For now, only the portions involving MGR alone have been shot. Remainder of the film can be shot only when suitable actors are found.
The spokesperson for The Iron Lady said that director Priyadharshini’s intent was to pay tribute to the legacy left behind Jayalalitha, who passed away in December 2016.
“Jayalalitha was a serving Chief Minister when she passed away. She dedicated her life to the people of Tamil Nadu and served them till her last breath. She was also a leading actress of the film industry who fought her way to the top. Her story is one of grit and courage. It’s inspirational and needs to be documented for posterity,” the spokesperson said.
As many as five biopics on Jayalalitha have been announced so far. Bharathiraja plans to direct one, while Vijay, Adithya Bharadwaj, Dasari Narayana Rao have also set their sights on directing the movie.
With the shooting for The Iron Lady scheduled to begin on Jayalalitha’s birthday next year (February 24, 2019), it is expected that the movie may well have the advantage of hitting the screens first. Other productions have not progressed beyond the movie announcement , sources in the industry say.
Interestingly, the title of this movie has a Hollywood connection. Margaret Thatcher’s biopic also had the same title. Meryl Streep, who portrayed Thatcher in the movie, won an Academy Award for her performance.