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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 July 2006, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Congress objects to Gandhi film
By Navdip Dhariwal
BBC News, Delhi

Sonia Gandhi
The filmmaker says he is fascinated by Sonia Gandhi
India's ruling Congress party has threatened legal action to stop a film being made about the life of party president, Sonia Gandhi.

The party says it objects to the film because it does not have consent either from Mrs Gandhi or any other member of her family.

The Italian-born Sonia Gandhi is married into India's most powerful political dynasty.

Often in the spotlight, she has personally shied away from publicity.

The widow of former Indian leader Rajiv Gandhi would have become India's first foreign prime minister had she not surprised everyone by turning down the post after her party's election success in 2004.

She then said her inner voice had dissuaded her from taking the top job, but remained leader of the Congress party.

Party fears

Indian film director, Jagmohan Mundhra, has persuaded Italian actress Monica Bellucci to play the lead role.

The film, due for completion in December, is to be shot in the UK, Italy and India and is set to chronicle 40 years from the time Sonia met her husband Rajiv at Cambridge where they both studied.

But the Congress party has served a legal notice to prevent Mr Mundhra from making the film.

It says Mrs Gandhi has not given her permission and the party fears the film might contain inaccuracies.

The film maker has not responded to the legal notice, but in the past has spoken of his fascination with Mrs Gandhi, a woman who he says effectively rules a billion Indian people but is not Indian herself.

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18 May 04 |  South Asia

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