November 19 was Indira Gandhi’s 92nd birth anniversary. To mark the occasion, film-maker Krishna Shah — he made ’Shalimar’ with Dharmendra, Rex Harrison and Zeenat Aman in 1978 — has announced his epic global film, ’Mother: The Indira Gandhi Story’. And Madhuri Dixit-Nene, the diva who dominated Bollywood through the 1990s, will play Mrs Gandhi.
Shah (71), who has been making film and television software in Hollywood, has been researching the subject and wants to make ’Mother’ in two parts. He claims to have pieced together a script from published and unpublished material, innumerable interviews with politicians, journalists, bureaucrats, writers, military officials and the late prime minister’s contemporaries. Shooting will commence in the spring of 2010.
Other major Bollywood actors in negotiations are Nana Patekar (for Jayaprakash Narayan’s role), Dharmendra (Motilal Nehru), and Abhay Deol (Rajiv Gandhi). Even Hollywood stars Tom Hanks and Tommy Lee Jones are being approached by a well-known casting agency for playing the roles of politicians from the West.
"In my view, a whole new generation has matured since her assassination and it’s the role of art to connect people with their history. My film seeks to create such a connection," Shah said.
The first of the two-part series will cover her story from birth to her emergence as "Ma Durga" after her victory against Pakistan in the 1971 war. Part two will cover the rise of her son, Sanjay Gandhi, his death and her assassination.
Shah said he was inspired to do the film after an anecdote he read. In a conversation between the 14-year-old Indira Gandhi and her ailing mother, Kamla, Indira asked who would look after her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, when she was no more. Kamla answered Indira would have to do that job. Then she asked who would look after him after she was married and had her own children. Her mother, according to the anecdote, answered: "A woman is a mother to one and all."(TNN)