Earlier this year, reports revealed that Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut was set to play Meena Kumari in a biopic on the late star. The film was to be directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia. Kangana had even said that she hoped “things work out [vis-à-vis the film]”. However, now, we have come to know that the biopic has been put on hold due to the lack of adequate information and rights.
“Kangana and I were ready [to do the film]. But it got stuck due to the budget and rights, etc. We have the rights to the book (a biography on the actor, titled Meena Kumari — A Classic Biography), which was written by Vinod Mehta (late journalist). But to make a film on Meenaji, the book isn’t enough,” says Tigmanshu. Apparently, the book was written by a young Mehta, who confessed to not knowing much about Kumari at the time of penning it. “This is also mentioned in the book,” he says, adding, “He also said that if he had written the book 20 years later, he could have done a better job, as it would have had more information.”
The Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster (2011) director feels that if the film is “based only on the book”, it won’t have enough information and, therefore, won’t be fun. “Whatever information we already have, outside of what is in the biography, is in the public domain. So, to start work [on the biopic], we need to do a lot of research, get more rights and other permissions,” he says.
Didn’t Kumari’s family, especially her stepson Tajdar Amrohi (who is reportedly also making a movie on her life), object to the film being made? “Yes, he did. He said we can’t make the film without permissions [from her family]. As of now, we aren’t thinking actively about it. Once we get all the permissions, only then will the writing process start,” says Tigmanshu adding, “I am hopeful that something will work out. Every film comes with its own destiny.”