Some find it over the top, others feel Priyanka Chopra was not the right choice to play the title role. But boxing champ M.C. Mary Kom is happy with Omung Kumar's directorial venture Mary Kom and says that the biopic has captured the true essence of her life.
It had a successful run at the box office and Mary Kom says that the movie would not have been a hit if any look-alike had played her role.
"What makes me happy is that my story and whatever it may contain to inspire younger generations, would now be taken far. Now the story of my struggle has gone to every corner of India," she said.
Q: When you saw yourself on screen what were you thoughts?
A: I broke down and cried. I remembered all the difficulties and all my struggles. It hasn't been easy being Mary Kom. The film took me on an emotional journey. When I saw it the first time, I cried uncontrollably. Again when we had a screening of the film on September 3, I broke down. I can't forget all the pain and stress I've been through.
Q: Do you think Mary Kom, the film, captures your life?
A: Almost. Yes, it's got my life almost right. Except for the bits showing insurgency in Manipur that affects my state so deeply, the rest of the film is true to my life. It's all true. Priyanka has done a great job of playing me. And not just Priyanka, even Darshan Kumaar who plays my husband is very, very good.
Q: Priyanka doesn't look like you at all. Is that a problem for you?
A: No! I don't think it was important for her to look like me. In many ways Priyanka is very similar to me. It was important to feel like me. Any other girl from Manipur or the Northeast could look more like me. But to express my feelings and thoughts was more important. Also, the movie would not have been a hit if any look-alike had played my role.
Q: You said Priyanka is similar to you. In what ways?
A: Yes, we are similar people. We found a lot in common. We both laugh and cry a lot. We've both gone through our own struggle. A lot of hard work has gone into her career, just like mine. The struggle has not been easy for either for us.
Q: How would you rate the film?
A: I don't know (laughs). What makes me happy is that my story and whatever it may contain to inspire younger generations, would now be taken far. Now the story of my struggle has gone to every corner of India.
Q: And that makes you happy?
A: Very happy (laughs). I may not be known in some parts of the country. I am hopeful that after this film, I'll be known in every corner of India.
Q: Is your husband Onler like Darshan Kumaar who plays him?
A: Yes, except that he (Darshan) is more handsome. But I think the movie has made a great effort to capture our real lives, and succeeded. A lot of hard work has gone into the film.
Q: Your husband has created a problem for all us husbands. Every wife wants a husband like yours.
A: (Giggles uncontrollably) My husband is very cool, very good, very simple and humble. He has fully supported me in everything I've done. I'd really like more husbands to support their wives in their dreams, ambitions. I am very lucky to have a husband like Onler.
Q: Audiences everywhere are watching Mary Kom, but not in your home state.
A: I am really upset about this. I really want people in Manipur to see the film. But there is a ban on Hindi movies. I'd really like the film to release in my state. I am sorry it hasn't happened so far.
Q: Have your children seen their mother's film?
A: (Laughs) Yes, and they know that's their mother's story. One of my sons, the one with the heart problem, immediately recognised Priyanka. They were very excited.
Q: What now?
A: I am preparing for the Asian Games. I'll continue to do the best for my country.
Q: I want you to play yourself in Mary Kom Part 2.
A: (laughs) That would be something.
Q: Your final thoughts on the film?
A: Please see the film. That's really my story. Except that my real struggle was far more difficult. Many of the incidents have been toned down. If they had shown my real struggle, it would have been impossible for the audience to see. But my life history has been put on screen honestly.