| Sonia Gandhi: Film for birthday
Mumbai, Jan. 14: The search for Sonia Gandhi has ended ' at the doorstep of an Italian.
Tabu was considered, then dropped; Manisha Koirala was considered, then dropped. Now, all eyes are peeled on the Italian who will play the Italian-born Sonia Gandhi on screen.
So, when the world's third most powerful woman ' after US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Chinese Vice-Premier Wu Yi ' turns 59 this December, a 'fitting tribute' will be paid to 'a remarkable lady' by screening a film based on a biography by The Telegraph's Rasheed Kidwai.
At a glittering function tonight, UK's minister for commerce, industry and women affairs Patricia Hewitt announced the world launch of the 89-minute film as part of the 'Bollywood Initiative', which allows British investment in Bollywood.
The film, to be modelled on Hollywood's Evita, is the first of six projects under the initiative jointly launched by MATV, Leicester, in association with CEE (I) TV Entertainment, UK, and supported by Mars Entertainment Group and Motion Pictures Partners International, UK.
Directed by Jagmohan Mundra and produced by Sunanda Murli of CEE (I) TV UK, the film will begin with Sonia's renunciation of the Indian prime ministership.
It will then go back to her early days in Orbassano, her romance with Rajiv Gandhi, the Gandhi family's initial opposition to their marriage and her relationship with Indira Gandhi.
Farooq Dhondy will write the script.
At the film's launch, Hewitt praised the Congress chief for her 'exemplary conduct'.
Mundra ' who has directed Sandstorm, Tropical Heat and Monsoon ' said the thought of making the film was 'fascinating' and challenging.
'The film will be a fitting tribute to a remarkable lady and one of the biggest and most exciting cinematic projects in 2005,' Mundra said.
Murli said the film would be based on Kidwai's book, Sonia.
It is learnt that the author has engaged a New Delhi-based intellectual property rights' law firm to protect his work and prevent any controversial fallout.
A Pakistan-based publisher, Sama Editorial and Publishing Services, recently released a Pakistani edition of Sonia.
It has been translated into Hindi, Punjabi, Marathi, Telugu and Malayalam.
CEE (I) TV has been producing, telecasting and marketing serials in various languages in India and abroad.