Indian mythology is the inspiration behind four Bollywood films, all releasing this year. Mani Ratnam's Raavan, Prakash Jha's Rajneeti, the animation movie Arjun and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Paanch Kauravs are slated to release during the year.
Indian epics seem to be the flavour of 2010. Four movies inspired by the epics — Mani Ratnam's Raavan, Prakash Jha's Rajneeti, the animation movie Arjun and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Paanch Kauravs — are set to hit the screens in a few months.
While Raavan, starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, draws its concept from the Ramayana, Rajneeti, Arjun and Paanch Kauravs have all been inspired by the Mahabharata.
Rajneeti stars Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Ajay Devgn and Arjun Rampal in major roles. Arjun's character based on Bheem and Ajay's on Karna. Meanwhile, in Raavan Abhishek's character is inspired by the demon God Ravana and Aishwarya plays Sita. Prakash Jha feels adapting a film from the epics is a very uphill task.
"If you are narrating from the original it's much easy as you have the story, plot, characterization and everything else in place. But when you adapt an epic and alter the storyline a bit, it becomes a difficult task. You have to first create characters with the similar qualities like that in the original or else people won't understand who is playing which character. Then the setting has to be recreated which has to have a feel of the original plot or else it can't be called an adaptation."
Ranbir says actors are challenged when they are roped in to play such characters. He says, "Anything new excites an actor and so when you know you have to be a part of a screenplay that is inspired by an epic you face a big challenge. You have to first understand the original character and then mould those characteristics into the role you are playing. It is fascinating nevertheless."
On the other hand Rakeysh has still not cast for Paanch Kauravs but we hear the movie will narrate the tale of Mahabharata from the perspective of the Kauravas. The plot might be set in modern times.The animated Arjun is a plain adaptation of Mahabharata. It focuses on Arjun from the Pandava clan as the hero.