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To become Amma was interesting but difficult, says Kangana Ranaut


Actress Kangana Ranaut spent close to six months prepping for the J Jayalalithaa biopic Thalaivi (2020).

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Actress Kangana Ranaut, who is currently shooting for the J Jayalalithaa biopic Thalaivi (2020), says it was interesting as well as difficult to portray the late film star-turned-politician, popularly known as 'Amma' (Mother) on screen.

In an interview to The Times of India newspaper, Ranaut opened up on the experience of playing the former Tamil Nadu chief minister, who died on 5 December 2016.

Though she has played characters like Parveen Babi and the rani of Jhansi on screen, Ranaut said she never goes in search of such roles. “It’s not that I choose these roles. I can only say I’m fortunate because I’ve been able to get this opportunity,” she said.

On what fascinated her while playing Jayalalithaa on screen, Ranaut said: “Apart from my personal liking for her, it’s the very extraordinary life that she lived and the extraordinary perseverance and strength that she showed in the face of adversity... these are truly remarkable.

"But of course, you need to see if it makes sense cinematically as well. When I choose to do a film, I see what’s there in it for the audience more than what’s there in it for me. I feel that her journey makes for an exceptionally good screenplay, in terms of cinema and politics blending into each other.”

Talking about the challenges involved in portraying the character, she explained: “Amma has been a sensational, most loved superstar. When I did my research on her, I found she was an icon, a style icon. She never did timid characters on screen. She was a trailblazer. To become Amma is an interesting arc, but a difficult arc to achieve.

Ranaut, who was seen recently on the big screen in Panga (2020), spent close to six months prepping for this project. She underwent Bharatanatyam classes, learnt Tamil and even spent hours in prosthetic makeup sessions.

The project, which also stars Arvind Swami and Priyamani, was announced along with its title and the first-look poster on 24 February last year, Jayalalithaa's 71st birth anniversary.