MUMBAI: Putting all speculation to rest, director Kamal has said that his upcoming biopic Aami will have Malayalam actor Manju Warrier in the lead role. The news comes in the backdrop of rumours that suggested the director has approached actors like Tabu and Nayanthara to essay the role of the controversial Malayalam poet on the big screen. Talking to a TV channel, Kamal confirmed that Manju has been roped in to play the lead in his film as he thought she has some character and physical similarities to Kamala Das. Bollywood actor Vidya Balan was the director’s first choice to play the title role. However, after making initial preparations for the character, Vidya surprised everyone by walking out of the project.
Kamal said he had little knowledge as to what led her to quit the film just days before it was scheduled to go on the floors. The popular theory that was doing the rounds was that Vidya walked out of the project after right-wing groups objected to the film. Kamal has expressed his unhappiness over Vidya’s decision, calling it “unprofessional and unethical.” “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 had said. Had she not opted out of the project, Aami would have been Vidya’s first full-time non-Bollywood film. The film, Aami, is based on the autobiography of Kamala Surayya, Ente Katha (My Story) and is Kamal’s dream project on which he has worked for four years. The film will go on the floors on March 20 and the childhood portions of the poet’s life will be shot first, said reports.