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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 February 2019

Sridevi Bungalow: Priya Varrier's Bollywood debut film faces legal suit from Boney Kapoor

But director Mambully insists "Sridevi is a common name", despite the fact the trailer ends with two feet sticking out of a bath tub

Actress Sridevi Kapoor arrives for the gala presentation of English Vinglish at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. She was found dead in her hotel room in Dubai in 2018. Reuters
Actress Sridevi Kapoor arrives for the gala presentation of English Vinglish at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. She was found dead in her hotel room in Dubai in 2018.ย Reuters

Boney Kapoor, movie producer and husband of late Bollywood icon Sridevi, is suing the makers of controversial new film Sridevi Bungalow.

It's been almost a year since the veteran actress died in a hotel room in Dubai, when she lost consciousness and โ€˜accidentally drownedโ€™ in a bathtub on February 24, 2018. The 54-year-old had been in Dubai for the wedding celebrations of her nephew.

Though Sridevi Bungalow has never been pointedly described as a biopic of the late actress, there are more than a few telling similarities.

The 90-second teaser, which was released late on Sunday, shows glimpses of a famous but lonely actress named Sridevi, and ends with a scene showing two feet sticking out of a bath tub.

Social media quickly lit up with fans decrying the "disgraceful manner" the movie appears to depict their late hero in.

Director Prasanth Mambully and Varrier have maintained a stoic silence about the connection with the real-life Sridevi.

Mambully, in his response to the criticism, has claimed that the film is a suspense thriller and hence unable to divulge much.

But after media reports of Kapoor's intention to take legal action, Mambully told Cinestaan: "We received a legal notice from Mr Boney Kapoor last week. And we will face it. My film is a suspense thriller. I told him [Boney Kapoor] that Sridevi is a common name. My film's character also happens to be an actress. We will face it [the legal case]."

The film is shot entirely in London, and is a Hindi film. The title in the poster is in the shape of candles.

Asked if the film was based on the late actress, Mambully said, "The character's name is Sridevi. Anybody can be called Sridevi. The story can have certain incidents which happened in Sridevi's life. I can't talk more about the film."

The movie is expected to be the launch vehicle to Bollywood for actress Priya Varrier, who plays the titular character.

At an event while releasing the movie trailer, Varrier told Indian television channel Zoom that she really liked the script. She said the storyline was completely down to the "director's imagination and creativity", before pausing and telling fans "to watch the film and decide if it is relatable to Sridevi."

While Varrier echoes Mambully's comments about the inspiration behind the movie, she also seems at ease dealing with the wave of criticism coming her way.

Having shot to fame in a fleeting scene in her debut Malayalam movie Oru Adaar Love, in which she played a school girl winking at a schoolboy, Varrier is no stranger to controversy. Her wink quickly went viral, spurning memes, jokes on the internet, and even a high-profile legal battle in which she was accused of hurting religious sentiments and blasphemy.

Referring to the latter, Varrier told Zoom: "In my first movie itself I experienced cases in the Supreme Court and all that, so I am mentally prepared for all this."

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Read more:

Sridevi dies in Dubai: timeline

'Without you life is empty': Fans and celebrities line the streets to say final goodbye to Bollywood star Sridevi

Sridevi: A who's-who of the famous Kapoor family

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Updated: January 16, 2019 08:38 PM

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