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Home / Regional Movies / Kamala Das is today’s Google Doodle: Why her biopic Aami has become so controversial

Kamala Das is today’s Google Doodle: Why her biopic Aami has become so controversial

Aami, the biopic of poet Kamala Das stars Manju Warrier in the lead role and is directed by Kamal.

regional-movies Updated: Feb 01, 2018 15:42 IST
Priyanka Sundar
Priyanka Sundar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Kamala Das’s biopic titled Aami stars Manju Warrier in the titular role.
Kamala Das’s biopic titled Aami stars Manju Warrier in the titular role.

Poet Kamala Das has received various tags in her life and after - mother of modern English poetry, feminist writer and a confessional poet - all of this and how she lived life was to be transformed into a story for the silver screen. Aami, starring Manju Warrier, is about this radical poet. The biopic is based on Kamala Das’s autobiography, My Story.

Currently, the release of the film is uncertain as the result of a petition filed in the Kerala High Court against the film. On Wednesday, KP Ramachandran, filed a petition claiming that the Manju Warrier film justifies love jihad by omitting certain parts of her life. Kerala HC then served the producers of the film, CBFC and director Kamal notices regarding the same.

This is not the first time that Aami has faced trouble. Initially, the film was left hanging as the then lead actor, Vidya Balan decided to walk out. This, after she started to prepare for her role in the biopic seriously with language classes and more research about the poet through her works. Reportedly, it was due to creative differences with the director. But if one were to go by the grapevine in the industry, the actor was forced to quit the project by right-wing forces.

This then led to Manju Warrier coming on board to play the role of Kamala Das. The film speaks about Aami’s (Kamala Das’s nickname) struggles, her outlook towards society, her sexuality, her religion conversion and more. The intense film required Manju to work on the character and imbibe certain personality to the role. The first look of the film, especially the physical transformation of Manju, floored people.

But, the right-wing politicians in Kerala were not too happy with her deciding to act in a film helmed by Kamal. The director had spoken out against the Narendra Modi government and criticised demonetisation, and the actor was called out for aligning with the director’s political ideas by the Sangh Parivar.

She cleared the air by writing a long note on her official Facebook page. She wrote, “I see Kamal Sir as my Guru. I am excited to associate with the great artist in him once again after 20 years... not his politics. My country is my politics. I go to the temple twice a day to offer prayers. Just the same way I bow my head in reverence when I am in front of a church or a mosque.”

Once this was settled, the trailer of the film released and ended up dividing fans of Kamala Das into two factions - people who believed that this would be a faithful biopic of the poet and people who believed that Manju Warrier was not the right actor to be cast in the role. There were also talks about the film being disrespectful towards the poet.

And more recently, director Kamal had said that it was ‘God’s blessing’ that Vidya chose to walk out of the film, because she would have brought forward a tone of sexuality to the film. This was quoted by many as being a sexist remark.

The film was slated to be released on February 16, after courting controversy throughout its making and has now fallen prey to a petition at court.

Author tweets @Priyanka_S_MCC
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