The Iron Lady, one of four biopics currently in various stages of production on the life of former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa, will go on floors by February next year. The film, to be directed by Priyadharshini, is currently in the final stage of pre-production.
Unveiling the first look poster of the film recently, Priyadharshini spoke about choosing Nithya Menon to play the actor-politician. Talking to Silverscreen, she said, “We considered a great number of actresses for the role, almost all the leading heroines of the day, and after many shortlists, Nithya satisfied our checklist. She fit well and got the behaviors and even personal character of Jayalalithaa right. And that is how, Nithya Menon got on board.”
Early reports speculated that Varalaxmi Sarathkumar may join the cast, although there were no official confirmation. When asked about it, Priyadharshini said “Yes we approached her (Varalaxmi) for the role of VK Sasikala, but we did not hear back from her. We still are not sure about her joining the film.” Talking about the rest of the cast and crew she said, “We are in talks and discussing the rest of the characters for the film. We will officially announce the details during our inauguration.”
Priyadharshini said that the film will detail the entire life of Jayalalithaa. She said, “We are going to film her entire life starting from 1948 to 2016. We have balanced her personal, film, and political career. Each part of the film will highlight different periods in, and aspects of her life. Because she has spent nearly 20 years in cinema, and longer in politics, no aspect of her life can be eliminated. We have all the elements in it equally.”
“So far, I have not reached out to any politicians, nor have they reached out to me,” she said, in response to a question about verifying information on Jayalalithaa’s political career. Priyadharshini also said that Jayalalithaa’s final days in Apollo hospitals will not be part of the film. “We cannot include the Apollo part since the investigation is ongoing. It cannot be revealed and filmed in any detail. However, we will include her death in the film. If at all the investigation comes to a conclusion and the nature of her death is revealed we will add them. Otherwise it will not be added,” she said.
Confirming that the production for the film will commence February 24th, Priyadharshini said that the first schedule will begin in Chennai, and parts of the biopic will be filmed in Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad.
Jayalalithaa, four time Chief Minister of the state, and leader of the AIADMK party since the 80s, died in Chennai on December 6, 2016. She had battled a long illness and spent her final days in the Apollo Hospital in Chennai. Since her death, several filmmakers have announced biopics on her. As many as five biopics on Jayalalitha have been announced so far. Bharathiraja plans to direct one, while AL Vijay, Adithya Bharadwaj, and Dasari Narayana Rao have also announced projects on the politician. Director Faisil Saif of announced one early this year, only to have it shelved a month later. Recently, director Lingusamy announced that he will be directing a biopic on Jayalalithaa, and that will be Jeyanandh Diwakaran, nephew of VK Sasikala.