The Madras High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to director Gautham Vasudev Menon and others on a plea opposing their proposed bilingual biopic on the late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
Justice K Kalyanasundaram sought the response of Menon and filmmakers Vishnu Vardhan Induri and AL Vijay when an application arising out of a suit filed by Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar came up for hearing.
After he was informed that the three have already filed a caveat, the judge ordered that they be served the case papers by Deepa and posted the matter to November 12 for further hearing.
Deepa, who submitted that she was a legal heir of the late All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo, has sought to restrain the filmmakers from going ahead with their project without her consent. She contended that the filmmakers did not have any legal right to produce the movie on the life and times of Jayalalithaa.
The biopic, titled Thalaivi (the leader) in Tamil and Jaya in Hindi, is set to be produced by them and actor Kangana Ranaut will reprise the role of the late Tamil Nadu chief minister, who died in December 2016, she submitted.
In her application, Deepa further claimed the three do not have any legal right, power or authority to make to publish, exhibit publicly or privately film or any tele or web serial in respect of Jayalalithaa’s life or that of any direct descendants without her consent.
Being a family member Jayalalithaa she was associated with important events in the late leader’s life, Deepa apprehended that the filmmakers might portray the life of her aunt and that of her as well in their “own version”, affecting her privacy. To safeguard the personality rights of the late chief minister, protect her own privacy and that of her family, it was absolutely necessary to restrain the makers of the biopic from going ahead, without getting her approval for the storyline and the script, Deepa said in her plea. The shoot for the film is reportedly all set to take off and the movie is expected to release next year.
Deepa’s brother and the late politician’s nephew Deepak Jayakumar had earlier expressed his objections with the web series titled ‘Queen’ which was based on her life. He recently issued a statement, claiming Gautham Vasudev Menon did not take approval from Jayalaithaa’s family before filming the series on her.
Jayakumar also shared that director of Thalaivi, AL Vijay, has received a No Objection Certificate from him, and is officially recognised as her authorised biography.
In an interview to Deccan Chronicle, Jayakumar said, “Amma (Jayalalithaa) is a political personality and her public life is a known history. I have no objection if he (Menon) has portrayed her political life. However, no one has any right to portray her private life without taking proper consent from me and my sister Deepa.”
“If he has represented anything personal about my aunt, I would not allow this and would file defamation case, in the event of Queen going ahead without our permission. I am not able to reach Gautham Menon and hope to hear from him soon.”
Jayalalithaa passed away after she suffered a cardiac arrest on December 5, 2016 after a prolonged stay in hospital for a series of ailments. She was Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the General Secretary of the ruling AIADMK when she breather her last at the age of 68. Popularly referred to as Amma by her supporters, she was serving her sixth term as Chief Minister of the state.