The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sonias’ saris match, rest...
- Ex-taxman making film on ‘simple girl from Orbassano’

Mumbai, Aug. 30: When Sonia Gandhi’s “inner voice” spoke to her, it changed the script of the country’s politics — and this former income-tax commissioner.

T.V. Kumar, whose only known celluloid product till date has been the aptly-titled but not that famous Nehru — A Jewel, has set the camera rolling for making a film, Sonia, Sonia.

Kumar conceded that the real Sonia Gandhi is unlikely to make an appearance in the film, inspired by her refusal to accept the crown in May. But he has made up by tossing two Sonias into the plot — the probable reason why the film is titled Sonia, Sonia.

The director, who staged the mahurat shot of the film last night, is willing to hold forth on the film but not on the sources of finance for this adventurous venture. “It is being funded by a creative co-operative,” he said.

Kumar, who also had a stint in Calcutta when he was with the income-tax department, stressed that his film is going to be neither propaganda nor hagiography. “It is completely apolitical.”

Does Sonia know' “We have asked for suggestions from her. Any other help or material is also welcome.”

He plans to release the film on December 9, the Congress chief’s birthday. “We intend to invite her to inaugurate the film,” Kumar said.

Poorva Parag, an actress from the National School of Drama who plays Sonia, has apparently studied the Congress chief for a long time. She wears her sari exactly the same way as Sonia does — and it is crisp, too. Mahesh Kapur plays Rajiv Gandhi in the film.

Kumar added that it is the human side of the Congress chief’s life that moved him into making the film.

“Here was a simple girl from Orbassano who followed her love for an Indian man to India. She rose from her tragedy like the phoenix. Then from a private person she was catapulted to the highest position of formal power, after which she rejected the position,” said Kumar, alluding to Sonia’s refusal to become Prime Minister.

The story is of a film within a film. It is about the story of a Goanese girl called Sonia, a medical student, who is chosen to play the role of Sonia Gandhi in a film commissioned by an NRI.

“There are two parallel stories. It is the medical student’s story, too, of how from a simple girl she is galvanised into activism against corruption in the medical educational establishment, which runs alongside the story of Sonia Gandhi and her metamorphosis,” Kumar said.

Sonia Sonia makes Sonia the latest Gandhi to be the subject of a film. There has been Richard Attenborough’s famous film on the Father of the Nation and an eponymous one on Indira Gandhi in which Manisha Koirala plays Indira — not counting Aandhi, allegedly inspired by Indira, too.

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