March 30: Priyanka Chopra took lessons in boxing to play Mary Kom. Now India's filmdom is looking for another star to climb Mt Everest.
Anshu Jamsenpa, a feisty mountaineer from Arunachal Pradesh who has made it to the world's highest peak thrice, has caught the eye of a producer who thinks she can be "even bigger" than the champion boxer from Manipur.
"We are going to make a full-length feature film on her," C. Chellam, a Hyderabad-based producer and businessman, told The Telegraph. "Anshu deserves more than she has got till now."
He wasn't exaggerating.
Anshu, a 35-year-old mother of two, hasn't just been to the top thrice; she did a "twin" on her first attempt in May 2011.
In other words, she reached the summit, came down, and scaled the 8,850m peak again - within a span of nine days.
She reached the top again in May 2013. Now she is training for another "twin" try to make it to the Guinness Records.
No one has done the Everest double twice.
Anshu has won several awards from the government but fame as a popular icon has still evaded her, unlike Mary Kom, the five-time World Amateur Boxing champion and Olympic medallist whose life story - Mary Kom - won an award at the 62nd National Film Awards.
Bollywood actress Priyanka, who had to train hard to build muscles, played the boxer.
Now Chellam is looking for a star who can play Anshu.
It's nearly three years since the producer came up with the idea of making a film on the spunky mountaineer. Now, after the success of Mary Kom, which released last year, he has set his own summit.
"I just wanted to promote her adventure then without any expectations, but now we feel she can be even bigger than Mary Kom," he said.
Chellam said it would be a "parallel" storyline that would go back to Anshu's childhood and youth in Bomdila and how she trained to reach the top of the world.
He isn't saying who will play the lead but hinted it would be a top star. "We want only the best in the industry," he said.
A Mumbai-based agency has been appointed and sources said the plan is to get Sanjay Leela Bhansali to direct the film.
Chellam said he would raise up to Rs 40 crore to make the film. The shooting will be in Arunachal, which has nearly 1,000km of the Himalayas.
The producer was also tight-lipped about who would write the script but said he wants only the best in the business as the film would be for a global audience.
The film will be on Anshu's life and of the years of tough work before she made it to Mt Everest for the first time, encouraged by her husband, Tsering Wange, a skydiver and mountaineer.
Their two daughters - Pasang Droma, 13, and Tenzin Nyiddon, 9 - are ready for adventure, too, but Anshu is preparing them more for life's adventure, not just mountaineering.
"Mountaineering is about discipline and organisation but it is more about grit and determination," she said. "The younger one seems inclined but I am not going to force anything on them."
What are her immediate plans?
Get back to the top again.
Encouragement has come from someone she considers "lucky" - former Arunachal Pradesh governor General J.J. Singh, who felicitated her in Delhi last week and egged her on for the coming ascent.
The retired army chief, himself a keen mountaineer who trained under Tenzing Norgay, is scheduled to accompany Anshu till the base camp with his three grandchildren when she sets out on her latest climb.