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Vidya Balan to portray Kamala Surayya in biopic

Thiruvananthapuram: Bollywood actress Vidya Balan will portray celebrated Indian-English writer Kamala Surayya, who shocked conventional minds with her bold writings, in a bilingual biopic.

The Malayalam-English movie, revolving around the eventful personal and literary life of Surayya, will be directed by national award-winning Malayalam director Kamal.

Vidya Balan
Vidya Balan

The writer, who wrote in English as Kamala Das and enriched Malayalam literature under the pseudonym Madhavikutty, had changed her name to Kamala Surayya after embracing Islam a few years before her death in 2009.

According to Kamal, the bilingual movie will not be a conventional, realistic biopic but a mixture of real-life and fictional situations. The shooting is expected to begin in October.

"Madhavikutty was a legendary writer and personality who questioned the hypocrisies of the society through her works. But, my movie will not be a completely realistic one. It will have real situations that happened in the life of the writer as well as fictional ones," Kamal told PTI.

Born in an aristocratic Nair family in Punnayurkkulam in Thrissur district as daughter of eminent poet Balamani Amma, Surayya has left a rich body of literary work.

The most sensational, and arguably widely read of all of them, is her memoirs 'Ente Katha' (My story), which was initially propagated as her real-life story, but she herself clarified later that it was just an "imaginary work."

Her other major works are 'Childhood Memoirs', 'Summer in Calcutta', 'Alphabet of Lust', 'Descendants' and collected poems. Kamal said he had an informal discussion with Vidya Balan on the project two years ago and she was happy to accept it.

"I first talked to Vidya about this project two years ago. It was just an informal chat but she was happy and excited to accept the role," Kamal, a national award-winning director, said.

Besides Vidya, Malayalam actor Prithviraj, who won his second state film award for Kamal-directed 'Celluloid', will also play a pivotal role in the movie.

"Prithviraj's character will be a fictional one. But, I cannot divulge more details about it right now. I am yet to discuss with him about the character as he is busy with other projects," Kamal said adding that the casting of other actors was yet to be finalised.

The 'Meghamalhar' director is also penning the script of the movie. "The script of the English version is complete while some more work is pending for the Malayalam one. I hope we can start the shooting of the movie by this October," he said.

When asked whether the movie will evoke any controversy as Surayya's life and writings had always been in the midst of controversies, the director said "it may happen. Let see...but I am not scared of any controversies." he said.

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