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Jagmohan Mundhra says Sonia film is on hold

Filmmaker Jagmohan Mundhra, who had put on hold a biographical movie on Sonia Gandhi after her party slapped a legal notice on him.
PTI | By HS Rao, London
UPDATED ON MAR 04, 2008 12:46 PM IST

Filmmaker Jagmohan Mundhra, who had put on hold a biographical movie on Sonia Gandhi after her party slapped a legal notice on him, has said the Congress President told him she was "amused" by the project as she felt such movies were only made about "people who are dead."

Mundhra said he had a "confidential" meeting on the project with Gandhi on October 10, 2006 at her residence 10, Janpath in New Delhi which went unreported.

The meeting was attended by Congress Party's spokesman Abhishek Singhvi who had in the same year in July issued a legal notice to Mundhra here saying that the biopic would not be allowed to go ahead as it was unauthorised.

"Mrs Sonia Gandhi took keen interest in listening to the storyline of my film Sonia. She was kind and patient, and did not raise the issue of legal proceedings at all.

"There were times when she looked amused as I narrated the most memorable moments of her life from a director's perspective, particularly, how she met Rajiv Gandhi," the UK-based director said.

"She, in fact, reminded me that there was a time when Rajiv Gandhi ji had to sell ice creams when they were studying together in Cambridge, in UK," Mundra said at a programme organised by India-EU Film Initiative at the Nehru Centre here over the weekend.

"However, Sonia ji said that she was a private person and could not come to terms that some one really wanted to make a film about her. She said she was amused. Usually, she said, such films are made about people who are dead," Mundhra said.

After receiving the notice, Mundhra said, the film was put on hold and that status has not changed since then.
The film was to have starred Italian actress Monica Bellucci as Sonia.

"After meeting Sonia Gandhi at her residence in Delhi I left with the impression that she was relieved after knowing my intention in making a film on her life," Mundhra said.

The film was to chronicle the times of Sonia and her husband Rajiv Gandhi, former prime minister of India who was assassinated in 1991, and moments from their meeting to her rise as the most high-profile woman in India.

The controversial director of films such as Provoked was facilitated at an evening 'Life and Times in Indian Cinema', an India EU Film Initiative programme in association with London's Nehru Centre.

Mundhra said he would be doing two Bollywood films this year, one of them with actor Govinda.

He has also been approached to direct a comedy thriller Bullets, Babes & Bollywood, for a company called 'One More Thought', headed by Pervaiz Damania.

Known for his thought-provoking and socially relevant films such as Kamla, Bawandar and Provoked, Mundra's next film Shoot on Sight, a political thriller on Islamophobia and terrorism, will be released in May this year.

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