Karnam Malleswari biopic, a tale of struggle, aimed to inspire

The biopic will chronicle weightlifter Karnam Malleswari’s ups and downs en route to becoming the first Indian woman to win an individual Olympic medal at Sydney 2000.

By Utathya Nag

Karnam Malleswari believes her upcoming biopic will steer away from Indian cinema’s clichéd love story tropes and will instead be a faithful recreation of her hard work and sacrifices which will serve to inspire youngsters.

A biopic based on the 2000 Olympics bronze medallist’s life was greenlit in June.

Directed by Sanjana Reddy, the movie will chronicle India’s first female Olympic medallist’s journey from a small village in Andhra Pradesh to the dreamy heights of an Olympic podium finish.

“Weightlifting is a sport rooted to the ground. There will not be any love stories, no bouquets in the biopic; but only my hard work and reality. There will be nothing to hide,” the Olympic champion told Outlook.

Malleswari admitted that a call needs to be taken on exactly how much of her eventful life story can be fitted into the duration of the film but remains confident that the filmmakers will do justice to her story.

“I told them only the story of Karnam Malleswari should be seen in the film,” she said.

A balance between glory and struggles

An Olympic medallist, a two-time world champion and a two-time Asian Games silver medal winner, there’s a lot of achievements to celebrate in the iconic weightlifter’s life.

The 45-year-old, however, stressed that the difficult times will also find equal prominence in her biopic as these were the challenges that shaped her into who she is.

“After winning a medal, everyone laps up an athlete, but not everyone knows the hurdles, the disadvantages, the problems that athlete faces on the way to victory.

“There is not one sportsperson who wins everything in his/her entire life. Often one faces downfalls and accepts defeats. My biopic will show how I handled all these negative things,” she said.

At the 2000 Sydney Games, Karnam Malleswari (R) became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal.

Aimed to motivate youngsters

Karnam Malleswari also hopes a closer look at her life story, which saw her battle through poverty and leave a lasting mark on Indian sports history, will help inspire the upcoming generations.

“My idea is that if a film on me is to be made it should act as a motivator for upcoming and future sportspersons. Mostly people from poor backgrounds take up weightlifting.

“Kids from rich families usually choose ‘luxury sports’. But only the poor and needy kids choose weightlifting. My story is also the same,” she said.

For the lead role, Bhumi Pednekar, Taapsee Pannu and Rakul Preet Singh have been reportedly considered although no official announcements have been made about the cast yet.