Mary Kom director defends Priyanka Chopra's casting: 'Amitabh Bachchan played Anthony Gonsalves without being Christian'

  • Omung Kumar, who directed the Mary Kom biopic, has defended the casting of Priyanka Chopra in the title role amid renewed criticism.
Priyanka Chopra in a still from Mary Kom.
Priyanka Chopra in a still from Mary Kom.
Published on Aug 07, 2021 01:27 PM IST
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As the spotlight once again fell on Priyanka Chopra's culturally inauthentic casting in the sports biopic Mary Kom, filmmaker Omung Kumar defended hiring Priyanka for the job by citing historical examples and claiming that he has 'promoted Manipur the way no one else has'.

In the film, the Jamshedpur-born Priyanka Chopra played the Manipuri boxer, while the Haryana-born Darshan Kumaar played her husband, Onler.

“An actor can mould themselves into any character and that’s what Priyanka Chopra did beautifully. That’s why the film was so effective," Omung Kumar told a leading daily.

He continued, “I have promoted Manipur the way no one else has, and I am proud of it. I gave a lot of Manipuri actors inroads to Bollywood through the film. The film’s reach also has to be considered while casting. We did look at a lot of Northeastern actors for the parts played by Priyanka and Darshan Kumaar too but no one suited the role. People think Darshan, who hails from Haryana, was from Manipur (laughs). So, if they suit the part, an actor can play any role. Amitabh Bachchan played Anthony Gonsalves without being Christian. If there is a South Indian character in the film, there’s no hard and fast rule that states we have to cast a South Indian actor only in the role."

The Mary Kom biopic was once again thrust into the limelight after the recent Olympics triumph of Mirabai Chanu, and comments made by actor Lin Laishram, who co-starred in Mary Kom.

Also read: Lin Laishram on Priyanka Chopra playing Mary Kom: 'A girl from Northeast could have been cast to represent us'

Speaking to Free Press Journal, Lin had said, "I admire Priyanka for her hard work, she really put in a lot of hours in order to look like Mary Kom but I always felt that casting is an important step in film. I believe in authenticity and inclusivity, so a girl from Manipur or the North East could have been surely cast to represent us...When it comes to playing an achiever from the Northeast a non-North Eastern person is chosen as seen in Mary Kom. On the other hand, why not cast people from Northeast also as normal Indians in all walks of life which we are.”

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Wednesday, December 01, 2021