Shoojit Sircar has said that he “won’t have the time” to direct a proposed biopic on former defence minister George Fernandes. The biopic is being produced by Shiv Sena Member of Parliament Sanjay Raut, and was supposed to go on the floors in March. In an interview with Mumbai Mirror, Raut, who most recently produced the biopic Thackeray, said, “I seek guidance from Shoojit as he is a close friend of mine and I’d love to have a talented director like him on board.”

Raut made the statement the day after Fernandes died in Delhi on January 29 at the age of 88.

Sircar said that he was busy with his next project and therefore would not be able to take on the biopic. “A biopic on Shri George Fernandes is a very interesting project and I congratulate Mr. Sanjay Raut on taking it up,” Sircar said in a press statement. “I have had several media queries on whether I’ll be directing it. While I’m always available for any guidance or help that I can offer on the film, I’m currently very busy with the prep work on my next projects and therefore won’t have the time to direct it. I wish him and his team all the very best.”

Raut had previously expressed his interest in making a film on Fernandes, the firebrand trade unionist and Socialist leader who went on to become the Defence Minister. The project was opposed by Fernandes’s wife, Leila Fernandes. In a letter to Raut that was reproduced in Mumbai Mirror in June 2018, Leila Fernandes said, “I will strongly urge you to desist from any further move on the biopic without our written permission.”

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