Rajamouli sets sights on Mahabharata

Director S.S. Rajamouli's epic RRR has smashed several records, including going past Baahubali 2 to become the biggest opener in the history of Indian cinema.

It is a huge hit worldwide and the filmmaker is now keen to make a movie on the Mahabharata, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India.

During a recent media interaction, Rajamouli said the Mahabharata is his long-cherished dream project. But he admitted that it'll take a long time before he takes it on.

"I want to make them bigger, bigger and better. And of course, I want to tell Indian stories to the rest of the world," he told Bloomberg.

"The Mahabharata has long, long, long been my dream project but it will take a long time for me to step into that ocean."

It is well-known that Rajamouli takes a break of three years between projects. So, will the Mahabharata project be next?

"Before I step into Mahabharata, I want to make three or four other films," he said.

It is now anybody's guess when he will start the actual shooting.

The filmmaker is riding high after delivering back-to-back Rs1,000 crore films - the two-part Baahubali and RRR.

Best known for his innovative and magnum opus projects, Rajamouli is gaining international acclaim for his movies. His bombastic, over-the-top Telugu-language productions have been likened to Indian versions of Hollywood's Marvel franchise.

Rajamouli's latest feature RRR transcended even Bollywood's success.

Shot on a budget of US$72 million - an unprecedented amount in India - the tale of two Indian freedom fighters battling British colonialists in the 1920s collected US$150 million worldwide, roughly on a par with Kenneth Branagh's Death On The Nile.

Since its release, RRR, starring Jr NTR, Ram Charan, Alia Bhatt and Ajay Devgn in a lengthy cameo, has broken numerous box office records. It ranks fourth all-time among the highest-grossing Indian films, after Dangal, Baahubali: The Conclusion and KGF 2.

The magnum opus, which garnered praise from Hollywood directors and technicians, has now added another feather to its cap by coming in second at the Hollywood Critics Association mid-season awards.

RRR bested favourites such as Top Gun Maverick, The Batman, Turning Red, Cha Cha Real Smooth, Elvis, The Northman, and The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent.

The winning entry was Everything Everywhere All At Once.

Rajamouli announced that he would be directing Telugu superstar Mahesh Babu in an action-adventure film next. The untitled project is said to be made in Indiana Jones style and the story set in the African forests.

The filmmaker also said his Mahabharata would come after that. "After RRR, I am going to direct a mega film starring Mahesh Babu.

"I am planning to helm four films after this project. Only after completing those will I direct my dream film Mahabharata.

"A decision on when the film will be launched is yet to be decided as it will take a long time to be made."

In December last year, Rajamouli was asked whether he would recast his RRR actors Jr NTR and Ram Charan in Mahabharata.

"The characters I write for my Mahabharata will not be the same as you've seen or read before," he said.

"I will tell Mahabharata in my own way. The Mahabharata story will be the same but the characters and their inter-relationships will be enhanced.

"I know people have made lists of who should play what in the project. But I will decide my characters only after I write my version of Mahabharata."

Indo-Asian News Service

"The characters I write for my Mahabharata will not be the same as you've seen or read before. I will tell Mahabharata in my own way. The Mahabharata story will be the same but the characters and their inter-relationships will be enhanced."

- S.S. Rajamouli

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