December 13, 2019
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The scriptwriter of Aandhi on his new project, a film on Indira Gandhi’s life and loves

Why another film on Indira Gandhi?
It's the first film on her. Aandhi was fictional, inspired by Maharani Gayatri Devi entering politics. The only resemblance it had to Mrs Gandhi was Suchitra Sen's portrayal of the character.

Is this film fictional too?
No, it is drawn from her real life.

Will you be covering her entire life?
Yes, from her childhood to her death, including her marriage, the Emergency and her weakness for Sanjay. It will be a balanced film, affectionate but not glossing over her faults.

Who's playing Mrs G?
We are still searching. I personally prefer a newcomer.

Why not someone from Bollywood?
The image would get in the way of the portrayal. But it's up to the director.

Have you found a director as yet?
Not yet.

Anybody on the shortlist?
Talks are on with several directors, including Shekhar Kapur, Govind Nihalani, Gulzar, and some newcomers too.

What are you looking for in your director?
Someone I can work closely with—my first draft of the script has 500 scenes and he/she will have to compress this into less than 100. He will also have to be strong on technical excellence. But we have to decide soon because we plan to have the film ready by end of next year.

What's your budget like?
It's a big budget film: Rs 25 crore or thereabouts. It's a two-and-a-half hour film shot on locations such as Anand Bhavan, Pune, Shanti Niketan, London, Switzerland, Teen Murti, pmo and Parliament. The producer, Uttam Singh Pawar, is a former Congress MP from Aurangabad.

In Hindi or English?
Both. We will make it in Hindi and dub it into English.

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