Poster girl for women's boxing is now Bollywood muse

MUMBAI Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:15am EDT

India's boxer MC Mary Kom gestures during an interview with Reuters at Balewadi Stadium in Pune, about 190 km (118 miles) from Mumbai, March 12, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

India's boxer MC Mary Kom gestures during an interview with Reuters at Balewadi Stadium in Pune, about 190 km (118 miles) from Mumbai, March 12, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's latest Olympic hero is hoping that a Bollywood movie on her life isn't just about the sweat, tears and grime.

Mary Kom, five-time women's boxing world champion, won a bronze medal at the London Games, and her exploits will now be captured on the big screen.

"I hope they show some romance in the film," the 29-year-old told Reuters in a phone interview. "That's also important, right?"

The mother of two is married to Onler Kom, who is also her manager, and hopes director Omung Kumar depicts that part of her life in the film as well.

"They will show my struggle and how difficult it was, but I don't know who will play me -- that is up to them," she said.

Bollywood isn't really known for its sports films, but movies such as "Lagaan" -- a historical epic revolving around a cricket match that was nominated for a foreign-language Oscar in 2002 -- and "Chak De India", centered around the Indian women's hockey team, have found box-office success.

This year, film-maker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is working on "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag", a biopic on Milkha Singh, one of India's greatest track athletes.

Kom was first approached by Omung Kumar last year, but the director hadn't found a producer at the time. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, one of Bollywood's best known film-makers, has now been roped in to produce the biopic.

"At first, I thought he (Kumar) was joking but then he did some research around my village and spoke to people, so I knew he was serious," she said.

Kom met both Kumar and Bhansali in Mumbai this week, but said she never considered playing the lead role in the project.

"I cannot act, I can only box."

(Writing by Shipa Jamkhandikhar, editing By Tony Tharakan and Elaine Lies)

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