Madhuri being sought to play a painter’s muse

An acclaimed filmmaker wants Madhuri Dixit to play the muse and lover of the legendary painter Raja Ravi Varma in a film based on the artist’s life.

Raja Ravi Varma, who lived from 1848 to 1906, was perhaps the first Indian painter to fuse together the Indian style of painting with that of British portrait painters in the second half of the nineteenth century when India was still under the British rule. A scion of a royal family, Varma left his royal family in Kerala, left his wife and his children, to settle in Bombay where he met a Marathi woman, Sugunabai, who posed for his paintings. Later, the two fell in love.

Varma painted many paintings of Indian goddesses for which his muse, Sugunabai, posed.

The artist drew a lot of flak from the conservative Hindu society of that time. He even fought a legal case to justify his stand. Varma won the case, but lost his muse, after which he never painted Indian goddesses again.

It is a striking story worth adapting on to silver screen. So thinks the six-time National Award winner, filmmaker Shaji Karun who has been thinking of making a film on the painter’s life for more than a year now.

The filmmaker has even talked to Madhuri Dixit and her secretary for the part of Sugunabai in the film, which is tentatively titled ‘Suryamukhi’.

According to Shaji Karun, Madhuri’s Maratha lineage and her resemblance to Sugunabai make her the perfect choice for the role.

On top of it goes the fact that Madhuri has also been an inspiration for renowned present-day painter M F Hussain.

Shaji is also said to be in talks with two Bollywood stars for the role of Raja Ravi Varma in the film.

If Madhuri agrees to act in this film, it would be her first movie in last five years. She was last seen in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Devdaas .

Shaji Karun plans to start shooting the film by the end of this year.

The film will be produced by Bobby Bedi. It will be shot in Pune, Goa and Varanasi.