This film may bridge the gap: Mary Kom

Pranjal Baruah

IMPHAL: After renowned Bollywood filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali announced that he would base his next film on the life of Olympic medal winner M C Mary Kom, the ace boxer said she hoped that the film would prove instrumental in bringing about a change in the mindset of the people of the rest of the country towards the northeast and its people.

"This film may bridge the gap," said the mother of two, who won a bronze in flyweight women's boxing at the London Olympics, from Imphal, on becoming a Bollywood inspiration.

Hindi films have been banned in Manipur by underground outfits for some time now but Mary believes that the film on her life would be screened at theatres in the state, breaking the ban for good. "It's a pride for me that I represented my country and brought it glory. I am thankful for all the good wishes and prayers of my fellow countrymen which helped me during my fights in the Olympics. I believe the film on my life will be screened in my homeland and will provide inspiration to newcomers," said Mary to TOI.

Attending a felicitation programme organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) on Saturday evening in Imphal, the ace boxer said that she is going to discuss the film with Bhansali on Monday and fill him in on details of her life's struggle before she became a national sporting icon. She also said that her husband, Onler Kom, plays a special part in her life and she would ask Bhansali to make his best efforts to portray his role properly in the film.

"Anyone can enact my role and I don't have any preferences, but I do want my husband's role to be highlighted in the film. It's an honour for me that a renowned director wants to make a film on me and I guess this film will be a positive influence on everyone including my fans," she added.

Bollywood sources said that Rani Mukherjee is going to essay Mary's role but the director has not decided on who would play the part of her husband yet. Art director Omung Kumar who worked with Bhansali in 'Black' and 'Saawariya' will direct the film.

Omung approached Bhansali with a detailed script based on the life of the boxer after getting the required permission. Sanjay confirmed to TOI that he liked the fact that Omung had done his homework, was actually inspired by Mary's life and was in awe of her much before she went for the Olympics, rather than it being an after-effect of her victory. Not only that, Omung had met her a year ago and had got her to agree to the film then.

"I hope the film will bridge the distance between the northeast and the rest of India. Making a film on someone who belongs to a small tribal community is always a matter of pride for that person. I hope my people will see the film and acknowledge my effort in a different way," she smiled.