Actress Kangana Ranaut had signed Anurag Basu’s next titled Imali some time back. But she has now opted out of the project as she wants to concentrate on her next directorial venture. She was cast opposite Rajkummar Rao in the film for the third time after Queen (2014) and Mental Hai Kya (2019).
Speaking about her decision, Ranaut said in an official statement, “Anurag Basu’s film was supposed to go on the floors in November 2018. But I had to direct and reshoot Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi. So, I had to push Imali. I was also meaning to be a director for a while, so I couldn’t have said no to this. Meanwhile, Panga had already started and I couldn’t not do that.”
Apart from Mental Hai Kya, she also has Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s Panga and the Jayalalithaa biopic in the pipeline.
Ranaut said that when she told Basu about her decision, he supported her. “Anurag and I have spoken about it. I feel extremely bad because Imali was giving me an opportunity to work with my mentor again, but I’m on the verge of announcing my own film in a few weeks from now,” she said. “That has taken a lot of my time and I have conveyed it to Anurag, who understood my situation.”
Ranaut added that after Manikarnika, she was eager to take her directorial career ahead. “I can’t not direct now. I had signed the Jayalalithaa biopic because it’s a strong character and in sync with whatever I’m doing with regards to women’s empowerment,” she said.
Imali would have been her third association with Basu after Gangster (2006) and Kites (2010).
The actress took over as the director of Manikarnika after the makers weren’t happy with Krish’s work. The two were given joint credit for the film.