Ad filmmaker-turned-director VA Shrikumar Menon is all set to direct ‘Mahabharatha’, a film based on Jnanpith award winner MT Vasudevan Nair’s classic novel Randamoozhan.
“I met MT Vasudevan Nair two years ago and told him I am interested in making Randamoozham into a film. But he said it would require a canvas that was far larger than what regional Indian cinema could offer and that’s why he had never written a screenplay despite a lot of demand. I promised him I would bring in the best technicians by making it a “global” film. He then got to work and he gave me a fully bound script within four months,” said Shrikumar Menon
The 600-page book was then re-written into a screenplay with around 190 scenes and the film will be made into two parts. “The film will go on floors starting September 2018 and we expect the release by early 2020. It will have master copies in five languages (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and English) with an international version being with an adapted screenplay to suit Hollywood standards.”
Talking about casting, the director said Mohanlal would essay the role of Bheema. “The film is seen from the point of view of Bheema and his emotional turmoil. Though the film will include cast members from across the world, we were sure that only Mohanlal would be able to play the role of Bheema.”
Originally planned at a budget of Rs.850 crore, Shrikumar says it is the producer, BR Shetty (Chairman of UAE Exchange) who said it should be made with a Rs.1000-crore budget. “As he sees it, no one should be able to attempt a film like this again. As it is an immortal epic of India, he said it should be a film that takes Mahabharatha to the world. It should be as popular as Greek Mythology after the film releases.”