Britain-based Indian filmmaker Jagmohan Mundhra is determined to go ahead with his pet project , a biopic on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and has researched a lot on the subject. He says he wouldn't even mind if the Indian government decides to ban the film later, but make the film he will.
"When I decided to make a biopic on Sonia Gandhi, about facts and moments that nobody knows about..., I got a legal notice from the Congress party stating that you are making a film on Sonia Gandhi and you have not even taken permission from her.
"In my reply, I mentioned that I have bought the rights of a book by Rasheed Kidwai. After that whatever research I have done till date is from published material, all verifiable. She can sue me if I am factually wrong, but if I make a film on a public figure which is factually correct, then it is not wrong.
"I told them: let me make the film; if you don't like it then ban it," Mundhra told IANS in an interview. He has made critically acclaimed films like "Provoked" and "Bawander".
Mundhra, who has been trying to make the film for a few years, has finalised Italian actress Monica Ballucci for the lead.
The filmmaker said he has done extensive research for the film and is eagerly waiting for a go ahead from Sonia Gandhi. The United Progressive Alliance chairperson had asked him to contact her after the 2009 general elections.
"Whenever I take on a subject about real people, I don't treat it lightly. I do a lot of research, I do it properly so that there are no factual mistakes. But we have to take cinematic liberties in order to keep the pace of the film intact, but I don't want to commit any factual mistakes," he said.
Mundhra said he didn't seek permission earlier from Sonia Gandhi for two reasons. "I did not go to ask her earlier because I thought that if she says yes then the (political) opposition would have said that she is getting made a propaganda film. If she had said no, then the media would have said that she is curtailing the freedom of speech. So it was a no-win situation for her."
"In order to save her from this embarrassment, I had initially decided that I will make an unauthorised film," said Mundhra looking relaxed in a maroon shirt and grey trousers while chatting in Centaur Lake View Hotel here.
He is here to shoot a song for his forthcoming action thriller Chase, starring Udita Goswami and Anuj Saxena in the lead.
On probing further about the biopic, the filmmaker came out with a few things that he had told Sonia Gandhi when he had gone to meet her regarding the film.
"When I met Mrs. Gandhi, I told her that I don't have a political agenda. I'm fascinated by the fact that an Italian girl who had to go to London to learn English in Cambridge did not even know that time that one day she will be a leader in a completely different country where people speak a completely different language," he explained.
Mundhra told her that he knows that she had first met her husband Rajiv Gandhi, who became prime minister later, at a varsity restaurant and that "moment changed the history of India" - it is this moment that he wants to capture.
The 60-year-old filmmaker told IANS that Sonia Gandhi smiled when he told her that he knows that Rajiv Gandhi used to work in a bakery in London when he was a student and has even sold ice-creams.
The director said he will be contacting the Congress president some time again regarding the film.