Kunal searches for Ramyug
The Ramayan is one of the most expansive epics in world history, speaking of values and the triumph of good over evil. Filmmakers every now and then try to find inspiration from it — either creating different stories or retelling the story. The latest in the fray is Kunal Kohli, better known to have helmed breezy romances like Hum Tum. He has announced that his next film is going to be Ramyug, a live-action adaptation of the epic as told by Valmiki.
The Woods: A name like Ramyug could have a separate meaning in the present-day political context. Is there any reason why you used the name?
Kunal: My film has nothing to do with politics. I stay away from politics, I don’t understand politics. I am a filmmaker, a storyteller. This is a film on a subject that is revered in the country, characters that people love and pray to. There have been various interpretations on TV and this is our humble effort to make our version of Ramayan. If you ask me why Ramyug as title, I think in the back of our minds everyone always talks about “Ram Rajya” being the ideal time period that will come, that should come, that is needed for the present times, worldwide. That’s why Ramyug. If there is Kalyug, why not hope for Ramyug.
• The term Ram Rajya had been heavily debated in recent times
• I don’t want to get into any political debate. It is a subject that is loved and we are hoping to make it closest to the original way as possible. There are no political undertones anywhere.
• Your last Hindi film, Phir Se, never released theatrically and went through a fair deal of controversies.
• These are the ups and downs of life and Bollywood. One time you are up there and then you are struggling to release your film. These are times when you learn about life and get more philosophical and spiritual in life. And that’s what happened to me. And that is why I grew closer to a subject like this.
• Ramayan has a lot of versions. What do you intend to follow?
• It would be more of Valmiki’s Ramayan. We can’t possibly, in the span of a film, bring in all the points and thoughts. We have to select carefully what to use and we will try that.