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The many moods of MahabharataRituparno Ghosh with Sanjiv Goenka on Tuesday. Picture by Aranya Sen

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By RESHMI SENGUPTA
  • Published 7.09.05
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Exploring the woman?s world in the Mahabharata with Draupadi at the centre. Rituparno Ghosh?s ?most difficult film? will roll out of city-based RPG Group?s Saregama Films early next year. The Hindi-English bilingual called Draupadi is aimed at both the national and international audiences.

?Even Satyajit Ray had attempted the Mahabharata but backed out due to the complexity of the relationships which is so difficult to convey to an international audience. I want to work with the characters of Mahabharata, and not the story. Indian audiences are familiar with the storyline, but international audiences will not know the plot. Striking a balance between the two will be the most difficult task for me,? said Rituparno on Tuesday.

Draupadi, Krishna and Ved Vyas will be the three significant characters Rituparno will focus on. Chandril Bhattacharya, of Chandrabindoo, is working with him on the script that is likely to be ready in the next two months. Only then will the cast be finalised.

?I have always wanted to work on the women of Mahabharata with Draupadi in the middle ? how she epitomises woman power and how she is an extension of Kunti,? said Rituparno, adding that he was looking for a ?dark actor? for the title role.

The Draupadi team intends to shoot the indoors in Calcutta and go out only for facilities not available here. ?We want the film to be a project from Calcutta,? said Sanjiv Goenka, vice-chairman, RPG Group.

?But the film will not be a spectacle; it will be introspective. I want to look at the moods of the Mahabharata. Over the past year, I have concentrated on the nuances of the epic, which has been looked upon as a religious text and the characters have been treated with deification. It will not be easy to script them as human beings,? stressed Rituparno, having been inspired by Katha Amrita Samaan, Nathabati Anathbat, Teejan Bai and Peter Brook?s Mahabharata.

The film-maker is currently supervising the post-production of Dosar, starring Prosenjit and Konkona Sen Sharma.

Even before Draupadi takes centre stage in its scheme of things, Saregama will get into a high-profile collaboration with Hollywood this winter. The RPG Group has commissioned an Indo-American project along with a US-based company steered by Drena De Niro, the adopted daughter of Robert De Niro.

The film will star Sushmita Sen alongside boyfriend Randeep Hooda, Rati Agnihotri, Suresh Oberoi and some Hollywood actors, who are yet to be signed. In the director?s chair will be New York-based film-maker Manish Gupta. Set against an Indian backdrop, the film will be shot in New York this October.

?Drena will be part of the US production team and will surely be acting in the film. It will be shot entirely in New York and we are in the process of firming up the cast,? said Sunil Bhandari, business head, Bengali Films, Saregama.

Drena, who has been a DJ, model and fashion consultant before switching to acting, has starred in several films including Showtime and On the Run.

Just after the Indo-American film, Saregama will roll out as many as four Hindi films with heavy-duty star cast.

First up is the ?romantic musical story? Geet, starring Bobby Deol. Bhumika Chawla is tipped to be the female lead of the film to be directed by Imtiaz Ali, who had debuted with Socha Na Tha.

Ananth Mahadevan will be back on the floors after Dil Maange More with Na Naa Karte, ?a comedy of errors?. The cast, to comprise two pairs of heroes and heroines, is yet to be decided.

Next in line is yet another love story, Naa Jaane Kyun, with Akshay Kumar in the lead by debutante director Mayur Suri. Then there?s Sufi, Samar Khan?s second directorial venture after Kuchh Meetha Ho Jaye. To be shot in the winters in Europe, the film?s only confirmed cast member is Abhishek Bachchan. ?It will be a thriller with two heroines and one hero,? added Bhandari.

Currently on the floors is Haranath Chakraborty?s Prosenjit-starrer Ekar Sansar, which marks Saregama?s entry into mainstream Tollywood.