Manjit Thakur / New Delhi
Covid-19 has changed a lot of things in our lives. Kunal Kohli's film Ramyug, for example, that was in the making was to be but has since been turned into a web series for the OTT platform.
Kunal Kohli, who has films like Hum Tum and Fanaa, to his credit has picturised the Valmiki Ramayana through picturesque natural scenes in this web series. However, since the veneration for lead characters Rama and Sita, in this case, goes to a new high level hence it’s always important to see who plays these characters. Obviously, Arun Govil and Deepika Chikhaliya’s performances in Ramayana have become a benchmark for the newcomers. However, except for Mohit Raina, who played Shiva in the TV serial Devon Ke Dev Mahadev aired on the Life OK TV channel, only very few people have been able to bring alive the divinity on the screen,
Use of technology in Ram Yuga
The web series Ramayug has evoked a mixed reaction from viewers and critics. Some viewers have written that the selection of characters in Ramayuga is not up to the mark and also pointed flaws like Lord Ram not shown wearing a janeu. And, on the other hand in the eyes of critics, the palace, city and aerial scenes in this series are a cheap version of Bahubali.
However the OTT platform Max Player claims that 30 million people have watched a total of 8 episodes of this series so far. Film critic Joginder Tuteja says, "For those who want clean entertainment, nothing is better, pure and captivating then a series based on the Ram Katha."
Of course, to face this challenge, the filmmakers have turned to divinity as a reliable source of entertainment. 'Ramyuga' is just one example of this.
Last month, Akshay Kumar visited Ramlala before going to Ayodhya to start shooting for the filmRam Setu. On Diwali, Akshay Kumar announced on social media the production of Ram Setu film under the direction of Abhishek Sharma Abhishek Verma is famous for directing a film like Tere Bin Laden, and Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi, was appointed the creative director of Ram Setu.
New Bharat Kumar: Akshay Kumar makes films on subjects of public interest.
Dwivedi of Chanakya fame (Doordarshan) has also directed movies like Pinjar and Mohalla Assi. Akshay Kumar wrote about Ram Setu on Instagram, "Truth or imagination. To perpetuate and preserve the sacred memories of Lord Rama, the great man and superhero of the nation of India in the Indian public for ages and years, let us build a bridge on Diwali that will connect the generations with Rama. Ram Setu is our humble effort in this direction.
Not just Ramayuga and Ram Setu, everyone associated with Bollywood and the film industry is trying to bring out interesting stories related to Indian epics through big screen, TV or OTT. Film critic Joginder Tuteja says on Twitter, "Our films have always been inspired by the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Now it seems that the epics are returning to the screen. I am anxiously awaiting these films. "
Megabudget: Adipurush's poster
Adipurush featuring Bahubali fame Prabhas in the lead role is yet another film in the making. Though Prabhas figured inSoho, the Hindi audience did not like his original voice and Sharad Kelkar's dubbing was missed by the public. But his PR team also feels that Prabhas' image fits more into mythological narratives, in accordingly he would be seen in Adipurush. Besides Hindi, Adipurush is also being produced in Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam and Tamil. In this film, Prabhas is Rama, Kirti Sanon Sita and Saif Ali Khan will be seen as Ravana.
Megabudget: Adipurush's poster; Prabash fits in the role
Prabhas's Adipurush is a mega-budget film directed by Om Raut and produced by Bhushan Kumar. Its budget is pegged around Rs 400 crore.
Many films based on the life of Karna, an important character of Mahabharata, have either gone on the floor or their stories are being worked on.
Jackie Bhagnani and Deepshikha Deshmukh have also announced a film based on the story of Karna. The film has been named Suryaputra Mahavir Karna. It’s the story of Mahabharata from Karna's perspective. The Southern film’s superstar Vikram Suryaputra will play the role of Karna in the film.
Famous Hindi poet Kumar Vishwas will write the dialogues, lyrics and script of the film.
The story of Karna: Vikram Karna will be seen in the role
The plan is to make a film with Shahid Kapoor as Karna, and it will be directed byRang De Basanti fame Rakesh Omprakash Mehra.
For this, Shahid will start shooting next year. Vijay Sethupathi and Amol Palekar will also be seen in this film. Both the veterans play important characters in this film. Ronnie Screwvala is producing this film.
On the other hand, Ronnie Screwvala's next project stars Vicky Kaushal and Sara Ali Khan and the film is also based on the mythological character of Ashwatthama.
The film titled The Immortal Ashwatthama will be directed by Aditya Dhar of Uri the Surgical strike fame. It has been planned as a trilogy and this is the first film and the shooting has started last month.
Ekta Kapoor, with another Mahabharata character Draupadi at the centre, has made a TV serial in which Draupadi will be played by Deepika Padukone. This story will be Padukone presenting Draupadi’s perspective on Mahabharata.
Draupadi's new avatar: Deepika Padukone can carry the film solely on her shoulders
Well-known filmmaker Gunasekhar of South Cinema has announced to present the story of Shakuntala to the audience a few days ago. In this, actress Samantha Akkineni will play the role of Shakuntala.
Along with these films, the film titled Brahmastra starring Amitabh Bachchan and Ranbir Kapoor is also awaiting release.
However, the cinema industry's inclination towards mythical stories is nothing new. Indian cinema started its journey with a film based on the mythological character named Raja Harishchandra. Looks like in this new technological era, Bollywood may regain its originality by presenting old wines in new bottles.