Variety

$150-m Mahabharata to hit global screens in 2020

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on January 15, 2018

Jnanpith Award winner MT Vasudevan Nair   -  I

BR SHETTY, Chairman of UAE Exchange   -  BL

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UAE billionaire BR Shetty to produce two-parter based on Malayalam author MT Vasudevan Nair’s novel

With a $150-million (₹1,000 crore) budget, the country’s costliest movie Mahabharata will hit the screen in early 2020.

BR Shetty, a UAE-based billionaire businessman and philanthropist, has chalked out a plan to produce the movie in two parts and is scheduled to go on floor by September 2018.

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. It will be dubbed into major Indian and leading foreign languages. Shetty, founder and Chairman of UAE Exchange and NMC Healthcare, said: “This movie will be a true Make in India, made for the world. The Mahabharata mesmerises as well as brings focus on life and living.”

“I believe that this film will not only set global benchmarks, but also reposition India and its prowess in mythological storytelling.

“I am confident that this film will be adapted in over 100 languages and reach over 3 billion people across the world,” he added.

The technical crew will reportedly include big names, including Academy Award winners. The cast is said to include the best of talents from Indian cinema, as well as some reputed Hollywood names.

Shetty said: “This film will have an identity across continents, with their representatives donning the myriad characters in the Mahabharata.

A global team led by an internationally renowned casting director will handpick the cast.”

With his decision to back Mahabharata, Shetty will join the league of producers such as Lord Richard Attenbourgh, who backed the biopic Gandhi.

Based on adaptation

It remains almost impossible to narrate the Mahabharata on the big screen except by way of adaptation of Padma Bhushan MT Vasudevan Nair’s Jnanpeeth Award-winning novel Randamoozham (The Second Turn). This novel narrates the epic through the eyes of Bhima, the second of the Pandavas. The screenplay is written by MT Vasudevan Nair himself, who holds a record of maximum number of national awards in the history of Indian cinema.

Commenting on the initiative, Vasudevan Nair, said: “I'm extremely happy with Shetty's belief in the potential of the story and his passion and commitment to take it to global audiences. I sincerely congratulate him for his vision in backing a project of this scale.”

VA Shrikumar, Director, who has been researching for this project for the past few years, said: “I would like to sincerely thank Shetty for having immense faith in this project and help bring it to life with his financial commitment and his innate pride in Indian heritage.

“We are fully geared to attain the next level of production quality and visual magic, as well as narrative wizardry with this initiative.”

Published on April 17, 2017

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