Pradeep Sarkar’s next movie is a biopic this time – based on the life of 19th century Bengali courtesan-turned-theatre actress-singer, Binodini Dasi, also known as Nati Binodini, who ruled the Kolkata stage for over a decade, under the tutelage of the famous actor and playwright Girish Chandra Ghosh. It was from him that she learned all about acting and co-founded the Star Theatre. Pradeep who is producing it with Vasant Thakkar first approached Deepika Padukone for it. After the actress turned it down, he met Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who seems all set to do the project. If she goes ahead, it will be her next Bollywood movie after Fanney Khan (2018). Deepika is yet to announce any project after Chhapaak has released. Deepika will next be seen in the sports drama and Shakun Batra's romantic drama with Siddhant Chaturvedi and Ananya Pandey.
A trade source says, “Nati Binodini played more than 80 roles in different plays and was among the first generation of actresses on the Kolkata stage in the 19th century. She retired from the stage at the age of 25, got married and returned years later as a singer. It’s a role any actress would love to play as the movie covers the courtesan’s age over a period of time – from when she was a courtesan, became a theatre actress, to her marriage and comeback as singer. The makers met Deepika a couple of months ago to give her a story narration. She liked the story and agreed to read the script. But then she got busy with Chhapaak promotions and kept them hanging in limbo saying that she would get back to them. Finally, her team reverted after more than a month saying that she couldn’t do the movie as she wanted to do light-hearted subjects and not heavy or serious movies, which would consume her emotionally.”
The source adds, “Apparently, Deepika wants to take a break from emotionally draining subjects now, especially after Chhapaak, and is looking at rom-coms or comedy-centric projects. The makers then approached Aishwarya who has liked the story. The final script is getting locked and she has given a verbal nod to it. The script is also in the final draft now and the paperwork with Aishwarya is left.”
The movie will be made in Hindi. While a Bengali movie, documentary and play has been made on her life, this will be the first time that a movie will be made in Hindi. While Nati Binodini’s life history is in public domain, the movie will also have chapters from Binodini’s autobiography, Amar Katha, which recounts her life story and talks about the men in her life. The book rights are with Vasant Thakkar.
Nati Binodini started acting at the age of 12 and quit the stage at the age of 23, to settle down to a life of domesticity. She has written two autobiographies - Aamar Katha (My Life) and the other is Aamar Abhinetri Jeebon (My Life In Theatre). She played more than 80 roles in different plays and was among the first generation of actresses on the Kolkata stage.