While Kangana Ranaut is set to play J Jayalalithaa in Thalaivi, a biopic based on the life of late Tamil Nadu chief minister, the politician had once revealed that she would want Aishwarya Rai for the role.
J Jayalalithaa, who died in 2016, was a guest on Simi Garewal’s talk show, Rendezvous with Simi Garewal in 1999. On the show, Simi had asked her to name an actor she thought would be best suited to play her on the big screen.
Jayalalithaa said that she wouldn’t want a film about her life to be made in the first place. However, after Simi prodded her further, Jayalalithaa named Aishwarya. “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,” she said. In the episode, Simi had also asked Jayalalithaa who is the most beautiful female actor according to her. She named Aishwarya yet again.
Jayalalithaa’s suggestion came two years after Aishwarya had starred in the Tamil movie Iruvar, in which the actor played a role based on the politician. The 1997 film was directed by Mani Ratnam and also starred Mohanlal and Prakash Raj.
Over two decades after the interview, Kangana announced that she would be bringing the story of the actor-turned-politician on the big screen with Thalaivi. Earlier this year, Kangana dropped the trailer of the film as well. The film was set to release in April. However, the pandemic has delayed the film indefinitely.
During the promotions of the film, Kangana had revealed that Simi’s interview with Jayalalithaa had helped her i prepping for the role. “@Simi_Garewaltapped tapped in to real essence of a celebrity, A complete sketch of the subject. Rendezvous with Jayaa maa has helped me a lot in my research,” Kangana had said on Twitter.