Indian weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the 49kg category, ending the country’s 21-year wait.
Actress Lin Laishram, who also hails from Manipur, is proud of her homegirl putting the North Eastern state on the world map with her victory.
She says, “A small state like Manipur has produced many great sports stars. I am extremely proud of Mirabai. Winning a silver medal and putting Manipur, India on the world map is a feeling of victory of unity in diversity.”
Mirabai’s historic triumph opened conversations around a biopic, as fans took to social media demanding one to learn her story through the big screen.
Expressing her happiness on the same, Lin says, “Film is a visual medium and people connect to it faster. A story about a small-town girl winning in the Olympics will be an inspiration to our youth, especially girls.”
Lin who has been working in the industry for almost a decade, rose to fame with the 2014 biopic Mary Kom starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas in the titular role of the boxer, who also hails from Manipur. Lin essayed the role of Bem-Bem, a friend of Kom.'If South Indian culture in 'The Family Man 2' can be accepted, then why not North Eastern': Lin Laishram
In an earlier interview, Lin had said that although she admires Priyanka for her hard work, she believes in authenticity, and that a girl from Manipur or the North East could have been cast for accurate representation.
Sharing her thoughts on casting if a Mirabai biopic is ever made, Lin states, “It’ll be a shame if an actor of another ethnicity plays it in today’s day and age. Inclusivity is a big thing across the world and about time we as a country practice it as well.”
When asked if she’d like to step into the shoes of the weightlifter on screen, Lin says, “I would love to play Mirabai.”
“I feel it depends a lot on the narrative of the story and someone deserving should be cast,” she adds.
Sharing an authentic narrative not only requires good casting but also a filmmaker who can breathe life into the story.
According to Lin, a director for not just Mirabai, but any biopic has to be someone who understands both intrinsic and extrinsic factors of the story and the person on whom the film is based.
She says, “We have a lot of talented directors in the industry from North East as well as mainland and would hope that we may unearth a new talented director from Manipur or North East to tell her story. However, even if the director is from mainland, I would hope they approach the subject in a sensitised manner and have a deep anthropological understanding of the socio-political structure of North East and athletics/sports in India.”
She suggests that ideally a North Eastern should be cast and the film should be promoted on a pan-India level.
“If a girl from Manipur can make her country proud then why can't the country's biggest entertainment industry make Manipur proud by right casting. Mary Kom wasn't a gaffe as Priyanka Chopra acted wonderfully, but it was our opportunity to represent our hero and I feel it was disheartening how we were denied,” concludes Lin.'A girl from Manipur or North East could’ve been cast': Lin Laishram on Priyanka Chopra playing 'Mary Kom'
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