Its shooting is yet to begin but the announcement of epic movie Mahabharatam, said to be the country’s costliest film with a whopping budget of Rs 1000 crore, has created enough hype in tinsel world. A screen adaptation of Jnanpith laureate M T Vasudevan Nair’s Malayalam novel Randamoozham (Second Turn), in which Bheema narrates the epic in his perspective, will be hitting the screen in 2020. South Indian super star Mohanlal will be donning the lead cast Bheema and many of the crème da la crème of Indian and global cinema will rub shoulders in the film directed by V A Shrikumar, an ad film specialist.
Initially the film will be made in five Indian languages_ Hindi, English, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu_ but it will be dubbed into many other languages later. The director says it is not a mere war or stunt movie but a strong emotional drama portraying Bheema’s character and his internal conflicts. It will maintain a global standard and the best in industry will be roped in, he vouches. NRI businessman B R Shetty is producing the film that will be released in two parts, the second part will hit the screen three months after the first. Talking to the Hindustan Times the lead actor Mohanlal said it was dream come true for him. Excerpts of the interview:
Q: You have been yearning for this role for quite some time. MT said earlier he wrote the screenplay keeping you in mind?
I first read the novel Randamoozham in 1980. Since then I have been fascinated by Beema’s towering strength, his unwavering mental frame and internal conflicts. The role of Bheema started playing into my mind years back. I am really excited. I have played many characters of MT on screen and they all brought enough recognition and satisfaction for me. It is great honour to be part of his team again. I was told he kept me in mind while writing the script.
Q: Though MT was waiting for long with his script how it came around now? Even before shooting began many billed as an Oscar entry?
The script of the movie was written about three years ago. Recently director Shrikumar Menon met MT and visualized the movie in the same scale and depth he wanted it to be. Scouting for a producer soon B R Shetty, well known businessman and philanthropist, showed keen interest. I was told the best in the industry will be part of this movie. I believe it will be a collaboration of best minds and technology and people can’t be blamed either if they think it will make a mark in the Academy awards.
Q: The director said it won’t be a mere battle story but a strong emotional drama also?
True, as the novel title (Randamoozham) mentions the main character will be to imbibe the pain of being someone who always had to be at second place despite deserving better. I can’t divulge further details and but I am sure the film will have a universal appeal. I feel blessed for chosen for the role of Bheema.
Q: In the latest national awards there was a special jury mention for you?
True, last year was very lucky for me in terms of roles and portrayals. Puli Murgan hit box office in few days of its release. I am really humbled this is my 5th national recognition. A big recognition it makes me more responsible.
Q: Why only few films in Bollywood? Recently you said it was not due to dearth of chances you are keeping away from Bollywood?
I am an actor by profession and love to act, be it any language. There is no particular reason as such, I love to be part of a much bigger screen. But again, my time constraints keep away from other languages. Of course with the new film I think this often-heard question will become irrelevant.
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