The production team of the Rs 1,000-crore ‘The Mahabharata’ film project got a congratulatory message from the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Centre. The team has also sought an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apprise him about the project.
The film, that has Malayalam superstar Mohanlal at its centre, is based on MT Vasudevan Nair’s award-winning novel ‘Randamoozham’ in Malayalam. The epic story is narrated from the perspective of Bheema, to be played by Mohanlal.
The film will be made in two parts with an estimated budget of Rs 1,000 crore. Each film will be three hours long and will have a huge star cast and crew from around the world. The shooting of the film, which will be directed by Shrikumar Menon, is scheduled to begin in 2018.
“The project will go on the floors in Abu Dhabi. I prospered and earned money in Abu Dhabi, so I want this film first to be shot in there before we move to other parts of the world,” B R Shetty, the producer of the project, told media.
The film had initially run into a bit of trouble with a pro-Hindu group threatening to stall the release of the film unless its title was changed. “We are happy, but the Hindus here have a condition – only a film which is close to the story of real Mahabharatham written by Vyasan should carry its name. No other movie can be named Mahabharatham,” KP Sasikala, president of the Hindu Aikya Vedi had said.
MT Vasudevan Nair, the Jnanpith award winning author on whose book the movie will be based, had clarified that he has not distorted Vyasa’s script in any way, just interpreted his silence. The book was written after 18 years of research.
Shetty had subsequently announced that the film will release as ‘Randamoozham’ in Malayalam. In the rest of the world, it will release as ‘The Mahabharata.’
An earlier version of this article incorrectly quoted a report from Mathrubhumi newspaper to state that prime minister Narendra Modi had written a letter to the producers of the film announcing his support for the project. The error is regretted.