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The on-screen Gandhi family

After Monica Bellucci?s consent to play Sonia Gandhi, Jag Mohan Mundhra is considering Sanjay Suri for Rajiv?s role.

india Updated: Jun 10, 2006 16:42 IST

"Production will get into full swing now that,” says producer director Jagmohan Mundhra, who seems to be the new Ram Gopal Verma about town.

Not a day passes with the media carrying nuggets about the status, cast and updates on his ‘proposed’ biopic on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, even though shooting is yet to start. Mundhra, however, plans to start shooting from September (after the release of Provoked) on locations linked to Sonia’s life: Italy, Cambridge and New Delhi.

Currently, Mundhra is in London to get the pre-production work in order, apart from finalising the cast. He will meet Zayed Khan, who is in London, for playing Sanjay Gandhi’s role. Zayed apparently is quite kicked about the offer, as is Mundhra’s much publicised choice for Rajiv Gandhi, actor Sanjay Suri. “There is something gentlemanly about his whole bearing, besides the compassion on his face, which is akin to Rajiv.

Monica Bellucci will play Sonia Gandhi in Jag Mohan Mundhra's film.

Like Rajiv, Suri is too is of Kashmiri origin.” As regards the film’s other pivotal character, Indira Gandhi, Mundhra plans to cast acclaimed theatre actress Shernaz Patel for the role.

Mundhra, who toyed with the idea of casting Abhishek Bachchan as Amitabh Bachchan, now says the latter will be a minor character in the film. So seems to be the fate of Sonia’s out of favour sister-in-law Maneka Gandhi. But is it a move just to keep the Gandhis favourably disposed towards the film?

Mundhra says, “there are so many eventful moments in Soniaji’s life, so it’s not possible to do justice to all of them in two-and-a-half hours.” “The final cast is subject to make-up tests with the actors,” informs Mundhra, who is currently scouting for an actress to play the young Sonia.

“It was Monica’s suggestion that I opt for a different actress. She will play Sonia from 30 to 55 years.” The film ends with Sonia’s renunciation of the PM’s post after the 2004 elections. Bellucci apparently gave her assent after her discussion with Mundhra in Cannes on May 27, when she heard the film’s script.

First Published: Jun 10, 2006 16:42 IST