She flows smooth like a poem, spreading the fragrance of three-leaf capers, hiding within her the modernity of Kolkata wrapped in poignant emotions.
Portraying such a woman from the Nalapat family is no mean task. Filmmaker Kamal knew it—and Vidya Balan was his only choice to play Madhavikutty in his upcoming biopic.
The conversation with Vidya Balan was brief and to the point. But then, Kamala Das—poet and memoirist—needs no lengthy introduction.
“Will you play Madhavikutty,” the director asked the talented actress. He also added that he would be going ahead with the project only if she agreed to play the lead.
Pat came the positive reply. She also dedicated 60 days for the project.
Perhaps Vidya Balan could have identified herself with Kamala Das, who found “Radha’s disturbed soul” in every lover. Today, one could not think of another person to give form and life to Madhavikutty onscreen other than Vidya Balan.
Clad in a silk saree and sporting a bindi, Vidya’s twinkle in the eyes seems to say: “Here is your Kamala.”
The actress stand apart with her Dravidian feminine charm—which Madhavikutty, too, exuded—among zero-size crazed Aryan beauties of Bollywood.
But then, If Kamala Das was alive (she died on May 31, 2009), Kamal would have opted for Srividya to portray her. Both women were poignant and daring characters, who shattered and came out of the traditional moulds that shackled womanhood, said Kamal.
“If Madhavikutty did it through her stories, Srividya did they same through the many women characters—often shattering the idolized feminine sacredness—she had portrayed in front of the camera. She never confined herself so that she could project a particular image. For the Malayali’s collective mind, one with total feminine charm was the perfect heroine, and those such as Sheela, Sharada and Jayabharati appealed to the Keralite’s concept of perfect women. With the changing times, the concept has also changed. Now young, slim girls represent beauty. I can’t find a Madhavikutty from those slim beauties. And this is where Vidya Balan becomes apt to play Madhavikutty,” he said at his Kodungallur residence, where he has been polishing the script.
Kamal will begin shooting the film, Am,in September. Kamaladas was Amy for those close to her. Murali Gopy will be portraying Madhava Das, Kamala’s husband. Prithviraj, too, is among the cast, but Kamal won’t reveal his role.
Raphael and Robin would be producing the movie under the Reel & Real Cinema banner.
Kamal is facing several challenges that come with the making of a biopic. While making Celluloid, casting an actor to play J. C. Daniel was easy since he was not much known to the current generation. But it won’t be the case with Madhavikutty, who is more like a family member to Malayalis. So selecting actors to portray different stages of Madhavikutty’s life is a difficult task. A naturally beautiful girl with long curly hair to play Amy’s childhood, actors to play Madhavikutty’s parents Balamani Amma and V. M. Nair, besides those to portray Kuttikrishna Marar and Mahakavi Vallathol.
Poet D. Vinayachandran once described Madhavikutty as naked tender leaves in moonlight and dolphins that come out of waves. The Malayali audience is waiting for Madhavikutty, the star, to emerge from the waves and to find a more special place in their hearts.