Setting a record in the Indian film industry, Dr. B.R. Shetty, UAE based billionaire businessman and philanthropist, is investing Rs. 1000 crores (USD 150 million) to produce India’s biggest ever motion picture, ‘Mahabharata’. Noted advertising filmmaker, V.A Shrikumar Menon, is directing this magnum opus. ‘Mahabharata’ will be produced in two parts and is scheduled to go on floor by September 2018 and will be released in early 2020. The second part of the film will be released within 90 days of the first part. The film will be shot primarily in English, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu and will be dubbed into major Indian languages and leading foreign languages.
The film will be a coming together of the crème de la crème of Indian and global cinema, in terms of its cast and crew. The technical crew will include some of the great names in world cinema including Academy Award-winners. The cast will feature the best of talent from Indian cinema as well as some big names from Hollywood. This film will have an identity across continents, with their representatives donning the myriad characters in Mahabharata. A global team led by an Internationally renowned casting director will handpick the cast.
Serial entrepreneur and billionaire, Dr. B.R. Shetty, has been a keen supporter of Indian arts and culture for many decades. With his decision to back Mahabharata, Dr. Shetty will join the league of visionary producers like Lord Richard Attenborough, who backed the biopic Gandhi, which was based on the life of India’s most famous freedom fighter, which appealed to a global audience.
It remains almost impossible to narrate ‘Mahabharata’ on the big screen except by way of adaptation of M.T. Vasudevan Nair’s award-winning novel, ‘Randamoozham’ (The Second Turn). This novel narrates Mahabharata through the eyes of Bhima, the second of the Pandavas. The screenplay is written by the writer himself, who holds the record for the maximum National Awards for screenwriting in the history of Indian cinema.
The ancient Sanskrit epic of ‘Mahabharata’ has been a topic of creative adaptation in different formats for many decades. There have also been efforts to render it, but the success of these has been limited to the stage or serialisation for television audiences. Hence, this project will be the first of its kind to take the epic, which has engaged generations of audiences on the silver screen, at such a grand level. The Indian core team, led by Dr. B.R. Shetty, augurs well to ensure that the sanctity and the iconic status of the epic are upheld.