Bollywood actor Vidya Balan surprised everyone and left National Award-winning film director Kamal clueless after she opted out of the film Aami, which was based on the life of renowned Malayalam poet and writer Kamala Surayya.
While Vidya is yet to make an official statement explaining as to why she decided to quit the film, sources close to the actor cited “creative differences” with the director as the main reason for her decision. “Vidya respects the director and the entire team working on the film. But the director and she had very different approaches to the film, therefore she opted out of the film in the most amicable and professional manner,” sources close to the development said. “Any other reason being cited is untrue.”
However, the popular theory that is doing the rounds is that Vidya walked out of the project after right-wing groups objected to the film.
Reacting to the development, Kamal said he has no idea as why she quit the project, adding that if she had creative differences, she would have discussed with him a long time ago. “Unprofessional and unethical. What else can I say about her backing out of the project after all preparations for the shooting had been done, without even citing a clear reason?” he was quoted as saying in a Manorama report.
According to the director, Vidya texted him that she won’t be able to play Kamala Surayya just a week before the shooting was supposed to begin at Ottappalam in December. And Kamal is still not clear what is the real reason for her backing out.
The Malayalam-English biopic is Kamal’s dream project on which he has worked for four years. He said that he will go ahead with the project with another actor as most of the remaining star cast and technicians have already been finialised.
The film, titled Aami, is based on the autobiography of Kamala Surayya, Ente Katha (My Story). Vidya was the first choice for the role as she has her roots in Kerala. And as part of preparation for the role, she was also learning Malayalam. Had she not opted out of the project, Aami would have been her first full-time non-Bollywood film.
As i prepare to tell ‘your story’ Kamala Das 🙏💐. pic.twitter.com/Fwkydldz5M
— vidya balan (@vidya_balan) September 11, 2016
Kamal thinks that the life story of Kamala, who converted to Islam during the final years of her life, was very controversial for Vidya to handle and maybe that was the reason behind her decision.
Kamal, meanwhile, has drawn the wrath of right-wing activists after he allegedly protested the arrest of a few members of the film audience for not standing up while the National Anthem was played at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK).
However, the director had clarified that he only objected to the way police handled the situation without taking the organisers of the festival into confidence. He added that the organisers had given clear instructions both in English and Malayalam for everyone at the festival to stand up for the National Anthem, which became mandatory following a Supreme Court order.