Olympic medallist Karnam Malleswari’s biopic announced

The movie will chronicle her journey from her childhood to the Olympic bronze medal feat in 2000.

By Subhayan Dutta

Star weightlifter and the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal, Karnam Malleswari will soon get a biopic of her own.

Announced on 1st June - Malleswari's 45th birthday - the multilingual movie on the 2000 Olympic bronze medallist will be directed by Sanjana Reddy and produced by Kona Venkat and MVV Satyanarayana.

The Andhra athlete had lifted 110 kg in the snatch and 130 kg in the clean and jerk categories for a total of 240 kg to clinch the bronze medal at the Sydney Games.

To date, Karnam Malleswari remains the only Indian woman weightlifter to win an Olympic medal.

The tagline on the biopic announcement poster reads, “Journey of a girl who lifted the nation.”

A story for the generation

“This film is going to be an inspiration to the present generation,” Kona Venkat, the writer of the biopic, had told the Hindustan Times earlier this year.

“She has faced so many hurdles and problems to reach this level. It wasn’t easy. She told us her whole story and gave us permission to portray all the incidents in her life,” he added.

To be made in Telugu, the movie will also be released in Hindi and Tamil languages.

While the cast and crew of the movie are yet to be announced, reports in the media, however, have named Bhumi Pednekar, Taapsee Pannu and Rakul Preet Singh as those being considered to play the lead role.

Previously, the box-office has seen biopics like Mary Kom, Paan Singh Tomar, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag - a biopic on Milkha Singh, Soorma - a biopic on hockey player Sandeep Singh and more, which have successfully brought out the struggles and success of the athletes to the current generation.

The makers of the Karnam Malleswari biopic are sure that the weightlifter’s story is worth telling as well.

“A poor girl from a remote village in Srikakulam district won the bronze medal for India in the Olympics. That is definitely a big story to narrate,” Kona Venkat reasoned.

Karnam Malleswari (right) won bronze in the 69kg category at Sydney 2000.

A star in her own right

Born in Amadalavalasa, a town in Andhra Pradesh, Karnam Malleswari had started weightlifting when she was only 12-year-old and it took her just five years to start making a mark on the international stage.

She went on to win her first big medal at the World Championships in 1993, which was a bronze.

Karnam Malleswari followed that year with a silver medal at the 1994 Asian Games and a gold medal at the World Championships. The Worlds remained her favourite competition, where she would go on to win another gold medal in 1995 and a bronze medal in 1996.

Her strong performances were recognized by the India ministry, who conferred the weightlifter with the Arjuna Award in 1994 and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1995.

The weightlifter was also awarded the Padma Shri Award in 1999 by the time she had added another feather to her cap in a 1998 Asian Games silver medal.