Vidya to play Subbulakshmi in Rajiv Menon biopic

Subhash K. Jha
13 February 2013

Mumbai, Feb 13 (IANS) It seems that Vidya Balan is set to play Bharat Ratna awardee vocalist M.S. Subbulakshmi in a biopic.

The Subbulakshmi saga, which spans 88 years, would be told by admaker-cinematographer-filmmaker Rajiv Menon who has earlier directed Tamil feature films "Minsara Kanavu" ("Sapney" in Hindi) with Kajol and Prabhudheva, and "Kandukondain Kandukondain" with Tabu and Aishwarya Rai playing sisters.

Confirming the Subbulakshmi bio-pic for the first time, Menon, who is currently shooting an ad abroad, said: "I've narrated the script to Vidya, and she has liked it. We would now be taking the project to the next level next week after I return to India. At the moment, I am shooting with giraffes and lions in South Africa."

Subbulakshmi would be one of the most ambitious biopics ever, to be made at an estimated cost of Rs.70 crore in three languages Hindi, Tamil and English.

Said a close friend of Rajiv from the Tamil film industry, "Rajiv has been deeply interested in Carnatic music, especially the music of Subbulakshmi for years. He has lived with this project for many years. He feels Vidya with her keen understanding of Hindustani sangeet would be able to pull off the legendary icon's life."

Unlike Vidya's "The Dirty Picture", which was a very selective bio-pic taking the more sensational aspects of Silk Smitha's life and career, Menon's biopic would transverse Subbulakshmi's entire life and career.

"Rajiv somewhere read that Vidya was a keen student of music and wanted to do a bio-pic on Lata Mangeshkar. It was then that Rajiv thought of Vidya to play Subbulakshmi. He wanted a South Indian actress who could carry off the age-span from 18 to 88. Vidya would have to work very hard on the body language and the vocal inflexions."

The original songs by the doyen, who died in 2004, would be used. But new recordings of the Subbulakshmi songs would be done by a professional Carnatic singer.

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