BY RAMNATH N PAI RAIKAR | NT NETWORK
‘Mahabharata’, the Indian epic that has enthralled generation after generation over centuries is set to be presented in a series of three full-length feature films in advanced 3-D technique, as part of the mega 150 million dollar co-production project.One of the executive producers of these films, Bhuvan Lall, who is attending the Film Bazaar organised by the National Films Development Corporation (NFDC) held on the sidelines of the ongoing film festival, told ‘NT BUZZ’ that the filming of the first of the three films on ‘Mahabharata’ will start during the second half of next year.
“We are presently carrying out a rigorous scripting exercise, with a team of writers working on the script”, Lall added, pointing out that the final draft would, however, be prepared by director, Michael Radford himself. Radford was nominated for the 1992 film ‘Il Postino: The Postman’. He won the BAFTA for the same film.
“The research material on the epic has been provided to Radford”, he said, observing that, fortunately, the story and plotline already exists for ‘Mahabharata’.
Speaking further, Lall said that the three films based on Mahabharata are expected to be completed by the year 2021. “We will release each film as it is completed”, he maintained, further stating that he is not concerned about the time gap between releases. “To cite an example, the first three films by Steven Spielberg in the Indiana Jones series were released in the 1980s, while the fourth film in this series, ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’, was released as late as 2008, however, the series was always at the back of the mind of audiences”, he mentioned, pointing out, “And ‘Mahabharata’ is more powerful than all the Hollywood scripts filmed down the years.”
It was informed that the technology to create major global CGI properties now exists which will facilitate in the making of these three, live-action, family entertainment ‘Mahabharata’ films, which will appeal to both Western and South Asian audiences. These films will rise to the standards set by films like ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Avatar’.
Lall, who was associate producer for the animation film ‘Ramayana, The Epic’ (2010) and executive producer for feature films namely ‘Chittagong’ (2012) and ‘Oonga’ (2012), further stated that the ‘Mahabharata’ film series will have an impressive soundtrack, including effective music, as soundtrack is as important aspect of movie making as editing and screen performances are.
“The cast for the film is being finalised. To take any story outside India, a producer needs to have the best of global cast, with each character in the epic well defined and etched out”, Lall said, adding that even the stage version of the epic directed by Peter Brook, which stretched for 9 long hours, had an impressive international cast.
“Incidentally”, Lall said on a parting note, “Radford has recently stated that in order to visualise what he wants to achieve one should imagine an Indian take on great Chinese films like ‘Hero’, ‘House of the Flying Daggers’ and ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ with their sculptural beauty and breath taking action, combined with the heroic tales and CGI special effects of ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Avatar’.”
There will be parallel versions of these movies in English and Hindi, and dubbing will be of the highest quality in both languages. Different music and musical sequences would also be used for each version of the three movies.