Kangana’s Jayalalithaa Biopic ‘Thalaivi’ Races With GVM’s ‘Queen’
It’s a little ironical that Kangana Ranaut’s film on Jayalalithaa is getting competition from a web series titled Queen. The actor’s most popular film till date, Queen, was a huge commercial and critical success when it released in March 2014. Five years later, the same title has been chosen by Tamil filmmakers Gautham Vasudev Menon and Prasath Murugesan for their web series on the late Jayalalithaa, which puts it directly in competition with Kangana’s own film on the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.
Kangana had put on hold plans to film her own biopic and chose instead play the role of Jayalalithaa because the actor turned politician’s life was (in her words) a bigger success story than her own. So, now we will have 2 projects on the life of Jayalalithaa competing for eyeballs very soon. By the looks of it, the web series is likely to release sooner than the Kangana Ranaut film.
While one would imagine that the Kangana Ranaut-starrer titled Thalaivi would be no competition for Queen, it is the presence of Gautham Vasudev Menon that makes the web series, which is set to stream soon on MX Player, a show to watch out for. For those who don’t know, Gautham Menon is one of Tamil cinema’s most popular filmmakers with hugely successful titles such as Kaakha Kaakha, Minnale, Vaarnam Aayiram, Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya and Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu. Here’s what we know about his project Queen.
While Ramya Krishnan plays Jayalalithaa in the series, MGR’s role is played by the Malayalam actor Indrajith Sukumaran.
The story of the web series has been adapted from the book The Queen written by Anita Sivakumaran. The Queen is a fictional story about Jayalalithaa, the protagonist is named Kalai, who as a child wants to be a doctor but is pulled into the film industry by her mother. Her rise to stardom alongside a superstar PKB (MGR) and her transition to politics and then becoming a 6 time Chief Minister makes for her life story. In politics, Kalai’s trusted friend friend and closest ally is Selvi (VK Sasikala). Basing the series on a fictional story, gives the makers a lot of leeway and will hopefully keep them away from the usual legal complications and controversies that come along with the making of any biopic in India. The novel has been adapted into an episodic series by Menon’s working partner Reshma Ghatala.
The first season of Queen will have 11 episodes, co-directed by Gautham Menon and Prashath Murugesan. According to sources close to the project, while Gautham has directed the parts featuring Ramya Krishnan playing the older Jayalalithaa, Prasath has shot the parts which depict Jayalalithaa’s childhood. The series will be simultaneously released in 4 languages - Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and Bengali.
Meanwhile, Kangana Ranaut’s Thalaivi is currently under production. The biopic is being helmed by AL Vijay and news is that Arvind Swamy of Roja fame will play MGR in the big screen version.
The script and screenplay of Thalaivi is being penned by Vijayendra Prasad, the man who wrote the blockbuster Baahubali films. Kagnana is reportedly taking lessons in Tamil to speak her own dialogues in the film, which will be simultaneously released in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. Thalaivi is reportedly being made on a budget of Rs 100 crore. Earlier, the Hindi version of the film was to be titled Jaya, but apparently now due to Kangana’s insistence, the makers of the biopic may use the Tamil title Thalaivi for the Hindi version also.
While the makers of Queen have played it safe by officially not citing that their web series is based on the life of J Jayalalitha, the makers of Thalaivi have reportedly obtained an NOC from Jayalalithaa’s nephew, Deepak, to make a film based on the iconic actor and political leader’s life.
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