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Mother Teresa withdrew permission for Lapierre film

The controversy over the film on Mother Teresa took a new turn on Wednesday with the disclosure that she had withdrawn permission for the film seven years ago.

The Missionaries of Charity clarified that a contract had been signed between the Nobel laureate and French writer Dominique Lapierre to make a film on her life and work. However, the Mother later withdrew permission for the enterprise.

Sunita Kumar, a close associate of Mother Teresa, said the Mother had withdrawn permission for the film, and hence the contract with Lapierre was not binding.

The swift clarification from the Missionaries of Charity came following Lapierre's statement to Star News on Tuesday evening that the Mother had signed the contract with him and his wife on December 29, 1982.

Kumar said Mother Teresa wrote to Lapierre on November 7, 1990, saying, "After much prayer and after giving this whole matter much consideration, I have come to the decision that I cannot grant permission to you to make this film. I do not authorise such a film and I must also withdraw any permission previously given to you."

Lapierre said he was baffled and pained by the Mother's ''sudden turnaround.'' He said he wrote the script for the telefilm, Mother Teresa: In the Name of God's Poor, with her approval. The script was then sold to a Los Angeles-based production company, Hallmark Entertainment. The film will be aired in the United States on October 5 on the Family Channel, the author added.

Kumar, however, said Lapierre had misrepresented facts.

"Nuns of the Missionaries of Charity in the US, who have seen the film, felt it is inaccurate and very Hollywoodish. If Mother Teresa had given Lapierre permission, why was the film shot in Sri Lanka? They should have shot it in the homes of the Missionaries of Charity. Then only would they have got the true picture," Kumar said.



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