Two Filmmakers Claim to Have Rights to Make Kalpana Chawla Biopic

Who has the rights to make a film on the life of astronaut Kalpana Chawla?

3 min read
Hindi Female

Recently Priyanka Chopra made headlines when a media house reported that the actress has been confirmed to play the late astronaut Kalpana Chawla. A debutant director named Priya Mishra was quoted in the report saying that she would be directing the film, which she had been working on for the last seven years. A report had also appeared in 2015 about Viacom 18 working on a film on the first Indian woman in space.


Now here’s the twist!

Priya Mishra is not the only one who claims to have rights to make a film on the life of Kalpana Chawla.

Meenu Arora, the founder and CEO of Cloud 9 Pictures Pvt Ltd confirmed to The Quint that she along with her business partner Savita Hiremath (who produced Khosla ka Ghosla) have signed an agreement with Kalpana’s father, BL Chawla, for the rights to make a film on his daughter’s life .

In an audio clip, talking exclusively to The Quint via Savita, BL Chawla said:

I have not known Savita for a very long time but since I got to know that she has made the film Khosla ka Ghosla, I was impressed. I think they will be able to do justice to the film. My blessings are with them. 

The duo also claim to have the rights from Penguin to turn the book Kalpana Chawla: A Life into a film. Meenu and Savita are currently in talks with directors but there is no confirmation as to who will be directing the film.

Our film is adapted from the Penguin book ‘Kalpana Chawla-A Life’ by Anil Padmanabhan and tells the remarkable story of the journey of a little girl from Karnal who wished to reach for the stars and achieved it. Along the way she was supported by her father who against social pressure and internal conflict stood by her while she achieved her goal. The film is a tribute to fathers like BL Chawla who despite their milieu have the courage and will to support their daughters so they can pursue their dreams and achieve them. Mr Chawla took some convincing but eventually he came around to support us in making this film a possibility. The family has shared so many anecdotes from her life which makes our story even more special. I hope we can do justice to their exceptional lives.
Savita Hiremath, Producer

Meanwhile, Priya Mishra has this say about having acquired the rights to make a film on Kalpana Chawla:

I have the rights since the past seven years now. I first met her dad, uncle BL Chawla in 2010 in Karnal and since then I have been meeting them. Last month also I met them. I met uncle in 2010 and then I met aunty and then the sisters. He didn’t sign the agreement immediately. I built a relationship over I think a year and then he signed. I keep meeting him. I still meet him, I was in Delhi last month also to meet him. He has been keeping unwell and now he went to Karnal to inaugurate the Kalpana Chawla University last week. So I kind of stay in touch. 
Priya Mishra, Filmmaker

With the box-office reacting favourably to stories based on real events and biopics, there is a rush to find scripts based on real people and incidents. We will have to wait and see who will bring out Kalpana Chawla’s story on the big screen. Watch this space for updates.

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