As Mary Kom completes four years, Omung Kumar says it was an aspiring film that involved a lot of risk

Filmmaker Omung Kumar shares interesting behind the scene anecdotes from the biopic on boxer Mary Kom that he made in 2014. He also talks about what made him cast Priyanka Chopra in the lead role.

bollywood Updated: Sep 05, 2018 14:11 IST
Shreya Mukherjee
Shreya Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
Mary Kom,Omung Kumar,Bollywood
Director Omung Kumar is happy that the audience still enjoy watching Mary Kom.

Filmmaker Omung Kumar’s Mary Kom (2014) came at a time when Bollywood had just started focussing on female-centric films. It was also when the biopic fever had just caught the industry. The film touched a chord with the audience and went on to win a National Award. The film completes four years today and mention this to Omung, he sounds nostalgic and happy. He shares interesting behind-the-scene anecdotes, why he wanted to cast a ‘saleable’ actor in the lead, and more.

Read| Director Omung Kumar on the failure of Sanjay Dutt’s comeback film Bhoomi: It dampened my spirit

The film Mary Kom released on the day four years ago. What do you remember from the sets?

We never thought it would work out this well. People still take the name of the film with respect. When you take a step that nobody has taken before, it involves a lot of risk. I am thankful that our efforts happened in the right direction. A female-oriented film, on a female sport personality, and that too, involving boxing… all put together, it was an aspiring effort. That it inspired all means that our efforts paid off.

How was the experience of working with Priyanka and Mary?

Both are strong in their own fields. When Priyanka was becoming Mary, she was another person altogether. After all, the character and the person it’s based on is strong. Much like Mary, who was ziddi (adamant) enough to put so much in boxing, Priyanka was ziddi to make sure she performed well.

Mary, in an interview, said if given a chance, she would like to play herself as ‘it would be interesting to see how I play my role’. Did she ever tell you about it?

She would joke and say that she would do a cameo, that’s about it. But if she plays herself, then that would be a documentary and not a film anymore. But, yes it will be interesting to see how Mary does it, as then it would be interesting as she will be real in it and not act.

Did you ever think of casting a real life boxer in the film?

No. I can’t expect a boxer to act the way I would have wanted them to, in their first film. Also, there were several risks. So, I wanted someone popular and saleable, so that it reaches out to more audience.

Do you have any behind-the-scene stories to share with the fans of the film?

1. I was very particular about every scene, and as you know, there were real-life boxers. They couldn’t accept the fact that they had to lose from someone like Priyanka, and they were actually hitting her in reality. And, [once during a scene] when I was telling them to hit properly as I wanted it to look real, Priyanka turned towards me, and said ‘Umung they are really hitting me’

2. Priyanka had a boil on her forehead, which burst when a punch landed on it. Her mother, who is a doctor, immediately took care of it, and Priyanka was soon back to work without giving it any importance.

3. While shooting in Manali in extreme cold, Priyanka would not waste time and would change T-shirts outdoors, so that the film finishes on schedule. She was that dedicated. The most difficult part for Priyanka was to gain muscles and lose it again for the film. It’s not easy. Also when you build muscles you have to let go of ‘prettiness’, but Priyanka did everything she could for the film and worked on herself.

Author tweets @Shreya_MJ

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First Published: Sep 05, 2018 13:37 IST