Ram Setu to Chanakya: Bollywood opens its door to mythologies once again

Experts weigh in on their opinions on why mythology films are back in vogue; while they believe that budgets and adhering to the core narratives of epic are challenging, A-list actors headlining them is ‘a positive sign’
Mythological films like Ram Setu, Adipurush, Ramayana, Brahmastra, Chanakya, Mahaveer Karna, Sita: The Incarnation and Draupadi have been announced
Mythological films like Ram Setu, Adipurush, Ramayana, Brahmastra, Chanakya, Mahaveer Karna, Sita: The Incarnation and Draupadi have been announced
Published on Oct 17, 2021 10:34 PM IST
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ByTitas Chowdhury

Bollywood’s love for mythologies dates back to several decades. In the ‘90s, actioners and love stories took precedence. However, the next few years will witness a plethora of mythology features such as Ram Setu, Adipurush, Ramayana, Brahmastra, Chanakya, Mahaveer Karna, Sita: The Incarnation and Draupadi, headlined by big stars and backed by prominent banners.

However, these films often come under scrutiny for deviating from the original idea. Kriti Sanon, who will be essaying the role of Janaki in Adipurush believes that playing such a part “comes with a certain responsibility”. “I’ve to keep a check on how much you can play as an actor because there’s a certain boundary that you cannot cross. We’ve to make sure that we adhere to facts and stick to what we believe in telling, so that we do not end up hurting sentiments,” she says.

Manoj Muntashir, who has penned the dialogues for Sita: The Incarnation, Adipurush and Chanakya, asserts that filmmakers “need to capitalise on our epics”. Ask him about what kept them away from this genre over the past few years and he explains, “All of a sudden, India’ has woken up to its legacy. I can safely assume that Baahubali broke many grounds. When dhoti-clad heroes were seen waging wars with bows and arrows, the things that were thought of as outdated, became cool.”

In 2019, Arati Kadav wrote and directed Cargo, a science-fiction rooted in Indian mythology. Agreeing with Muntashir, she says, “Mythologies are a goldmine we’re sitting on and we’ve to just tap into them.” So, is the trend here to stay? “Mythology films can give even the top sci-fi films a run for their money. The characters are so beautifully rich and complex. If we rehash what the millennial generation has seen and already dismissed, we won’t be able to win them. The idea is to dig deep,” she says. Kadav points out that the exorbitant budget often deters filmmakers from exploring the genre: “Mythology films are high-risk projects. It involves high-grade VFX and massive production scale. The benchmark set by Avatar (2009) was so huge that our filmmakers thought that they will never be able to match up. ”

Trade analyst, Taran Adarsh resonates with her thoughts, but he believes A-list actors headlining these projects “is a positive sign”. “If big stars are cast, that will take care of the budget aspect too. But if you make a good mythological film, there’s a huge audience wanting to watch it. For instance, Jai Santoshi Maa (1975) didn’t have a star cast and it was a low-cost film but it became huge,” he remarks.

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Saturday, December 04, 2021