Mary Kom's life is a fascinating tale that has and will inspire generations to come. But the storyteller who set out to tell her tale reveals that the quest had begun long before she bagged her Olympic bronze.
Having no idea about the existence of Mary a year-and-a-half back, Omung Kumar admits that the Indian masses have overlooked the inspiring story of the five-time world boxing champion. “When someone was telling me about Mary Kom's life, I was like Mary kaun? I had no idea about her achievements but the more I read about her, the more I was fascinated,” he says and adds, “I immediately flew down to Manipur and she signed the rights of the film.Initially she thought that it was a joke!”
Better known as the art director of films such as Sawaariya and Black, Omung is also associated with a high-end store, Bioscopewalli. Everyone thought his debut film would be a flamboyant visual feast. But, debunking all such expectations, he took up the challenge of delving into a biopic that needs touches of life-affirming realism.
“Everyone thought that I will make a flamboyant Moulin Rouge kind of film. I will make something like that for sure someday, but it will be my second film. For my debut, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and try harder,” he says and adds that this was the very reason filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali decided to back this venture.
“When I went to Sanjay with the script, he said that he was ready to back the film as it is nothing like what I've done before. And Sanjay knows me inside out.”
Speculations are on about who the lead protagonist would be and Omung discloses the dilemma that he finds himself in. “It's a catch-22 situation. I am not sure whether we will take a new person or an established name. Whether we will pick someone with features resembling Mary or someone who can depict her mannerisms because she has a distinctive style of her own,” he says and lays to rest any rumours that the lead has been finalised.
“No one has been finalised as of now. All I can say is that the heroine will undergo months of intensive training to get the right look and get into the spirit of the game. The movie will be more on the lines of Cinderella Man — the Hollywood cult classic. Something real that stands out with an artistic bent,” he says.