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B'wood plots hi-tech remake of famed Hindu epic

Ravi Chopra, the director of tele-epic Mahabharat, is all set to recreate the magic of the blockbuster on silver screen.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2006 18:19 IST

A Bollywood movie will aim to recreate the magic of a 1980s blockbuster Indian television serial based on an ancient epic Hindu text that portrays a clash of dynasties and the victory of good over evil.

Ravi Chopra, the director of the legendary series Mahabharat, which ran for 94 episodes between 1988 and 1990, is getting behind the camera again to make two, three-hour films with special effects he says will rival those produced in the West.

"This is something which I always wanted to do because it's a great epic and was made into a hit serial which international audiences should get to see on the silver screen," Chopra, 60, told Reuters.

"The film will be made with great special effects like those people saw in The Lord of the Rings."

The Mahabharat TV series was inspired by the epic Mahabharat, one of two Sanskrit epics of ancient India, and was one ofthe biggest television hits in Indian broadcasting history.

The most sacred Hindu text -- the Bhagavad Gita -- forms a part of the Mahabharat, a tale of how two branches of a royal family fight over their kingdom.

People were glued to their television sets and streets emptied of people as its one-hour long episodes were aired.

Trains were delayed at stations as passengers refused to board during broadcasts, while TV sets were installed at weddings to ensure guests turned up.

The tale, one of the world's longest written epics, has been translated into different Indian languages and its commentary on goodness, charity and prudence is read out to many Indian children by their parents.

"The people loved the television serial and now they should also taste the same at the cinema. I will make it a world-class movie but will not digress from the Indian spirit which the Mahabharat has," Chopra, son of the legendary Bollywood filmmaker BR Chopra, said.

"I will start shooting the film in 2008. I am still finalising the script and then I'll select the cast."

First Published: Nov 13, 2006 15:50 IST