Setting a rare record in the Indian film industry, Dr B.R. Shetty, UAE based billionaire businessman and philanthropist is investing Rs. 1000 crore (USD 150 million) to produce India’s biggest ever motion picture, ‘Mahabharata’. This magnum opus is being directed by noted ad man and advertising film maker V.A Shrikumar Menon. 'The Mahabharata' will be produced in two parts and is scheduled to go on floor by September 2018 for a release in early 2020. The second part of the film will be released within 90 days of the first part. The film will be shot primarily in English, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu and dubbed into major Indian languages and leading foreign languages.
The film will be a coming together of the crème de la crème of Indian and global cinema in terms of its cast and crew. The technical crew would include some of the great names in the world cinema including some academy winners. The cast will have the best of talents from Indian cinema as well as some big names from Hollywood. This film will have an identity across continents, with their representatives donning the myriad characters in 'The Mahabharata'! A global team led by an Internationally renowned casting director will handpick the cast.
Serial entrepreneur and billionaire Dr. B.R. Shetty has been a keen supporter of Indian arts and culture for over many decades. With his decision to back 'The Mahabharata', Dr. Shetty will join the league of visionary producers like Lord Richard Attenbourgh who backed the biopic “Gandhi” which was based on the life of India’s most famous freedom fighter, and Father of our nation, which appealed to a global audience.
It remains almost impossible to narrate Mahabharata on the big screen except by way of adaptation of M T Vasudevan Nair’s Jnanpeeth Award winning novel Randamoozham (The Second Turn). This novel narrates Mahabharata through the eyes of Bhima, the second of the Pandavas. The screenplay is written by the writer himself who holds a record of maximum national awards for screen writing in the history of Indian cinema
The ancient Sanskrit epic of Mahabharata has been a topic of creative adaptation in different formats for many decades. There have also been efforts to render it, but the success of these have been limited to the stage or serialization for the television audiences. Hence, this project will be the first of its kind to take the epic which has engaged generations of audiences on the silver screen at such a grand level. The Indian core team led by Dr. B.R. Shetty augurs well to ensure that the sanctity and the iconic status of the epic is upheld.
Dr B.R.Shetty, Founder and Chairman of UAE Exchange and NMC Healthcare said, “Mahabharata is an epic of all epics. This movie will be a true 'Make in India' made for the world. Mahabharata mesmerizes as well as brings focus on life and living”. “ I believe that this film will not only set global benchmarks, but also reposition India and its prowess in mythological storytelling. I am confident that this film will be adapted in over 100 languages and reach over 3 billion people across the world.” Importantly, am awestruck by the fantastic screenplay by Sri. MT and I have tremendous faith in the ability of V.A. Shrikumar to paint this narrative on celluloid. His passion and energy are boundless” Dr. Shetty added.
Commenting on the initiative, Padma Bhushan M.T. Vasudevan Nair, recipient of almost every literary award in the India including the Jnanpith Award and many abroad said “I’m extremely happy with Dr. B. R. Shetty’s belief in the potential of the story and his passion and commitment to take it to global audiences. I sincerely congratulate him for his vision in backing a project of this scale.”
Mr. V A Shrikumar, Director, who has been living the script and researching for this project for the past few years, said, “I would like to sincerely thank Dr. B R Shetty for having immense faith in this project and help bring it to life with his financial commitment & his innate pride on Indian heritage. We are fully geared to attain the next level of production quality and visual magic, as well as narrative wizardry with this initiative.”
About Dr B R ShettyBavaguthu Raghuram Shetty (known as Dr. B.R. Shetty) is the Founder and Chairman of Abu Dhabi based nmc group. The conglomerate includes global institutions like NMC Healthcare, UAE Exchange, Travelex etc. The group when established in 1975 was initially interested in hospitals, but since then has diversified into sectors including pharmaceuticals, global financial services, retail, advertising and information technology.The Enterprise he has built over the years is truly a metaphor of India’s emerging leadership in a global marketplace