Kangana Ranaut is set to portray the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in the biopic Thalaivi. However, the politician had once revealed that she would like Aishwarya Rai to play the role, during an appearance on Simi Garewal’s talk show Rendezvous with Simi Garewal.
J Jayalalithaa was a guest on the show in 1999 and Simi had asked her to name the actor she thought would be suited to play her in a film. Jayalalithaa first said that she didn’t want a film to be made about her life but, as Simi insisted, named Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. She’d also named Aishwarya as the most beautiful actor.
""I think Aishwarya Rai would be very suitable to play me in my younger days. But then to play me as I am now, or I'm likely to be in the future, I think it would be a little difficult."" - Late J Jayalalithaa
Two years before the interview, in 1997, Aishwarya Rai had played the role of Pushpavalli (and Kalpana) in the film Iruvar, inspited by the lives of J Jayalalithaa, MG Ramachandran, and M Karunanidhi. The film, directed by Mani Ratnam, also starred Mohanlal, Prakash Raj, Tabu, Revathi, and Gautami.
In 2019, it was announced that Kangana Ranaut will be playing the role of the actor-turned-politician Jayalalithaa in the film Thalaivi, directed by Vijay. In a tweet, Kangana had said that Simi Garewal’s interview with J Jayalalithaa helped her research.
Thalaivi was scheduled to release on 23 April but has been delayed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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