Karnam Malleswari hopes biopic to be an honest take on her journey

The story of the bronze medallist at Sydney 2000 will be captured in a multilingual movie directed by Sanjana Reddy.

By Naveen Peter

Excited by the announcement of her biopic, Indian weightlifting legend Karnam Malleswari hopes that the movie will capture her journey to the Olympic podium in its truest sense. 

Speaking to the Indian Express after the announcement, the 45-year-old said that she was eagerly looking forward to seeing her story being retold on the silver screen. 

“My only request was that Karnam Malleswari should be seen for what she is. My struggles, my training, all the coaches I went through – it must be there for all to see,” she said.

However, the weightlifting great did throw in a small challenge for anyone who wished to play her role in the movie. 

“In a boxing movie, you can show a dummy fight, but in weightlifting, you would at least need to lift 20 kilos,” she quipped.

“The movie needs to find a heroine who can lift so that people can see the nerves, the pressure of the body, the muscles. 

“Any actress who comes in will have to be taught techniques, will need to train. Making a boxing movie isn’t as hard as a weightlifting movie.”

The movie is set to be directed by Telugu director Sanjana Reddy and will be a multilingual work with a reported budget of Rs 70 crore. The cast for the movie is yet to be finalised.

So far, Bhumi Pednekar, Taapsee Pannu and Rakul Preet Singh have been reported as candidates to play the lead role.

Sanjana Reddy’s childhood hero

Sanjana Reddy, who hails from Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh - the hometown of Karnam Malleswari - saw this as an opportunity to bring to life on the silver screen the journey of a person that inspired her during her early days.

“After the Sydney 2000 medal, she (Karnam Malleswari) became royalty in our district. I saw her for the first time when I was in Class IX. She had come to inaugurate a government ladies’ hostel opposite my school.

“As we were growing up, any example of a strong woman would start with Karnam Malleswari,” the director told Indian Express in an interview.

“After watching movies like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, I realised the sportsperson who had inspired me from my school days had yet to have a biopic of her own!

“I found her number in December 2016, called her and told her I was from the same place as her and could take up this project after I completed my first movie,” she said revealing that the talks for such a movie were on since the last four years.