Posted by sepoy on April 27, 2007 · 7 mins read

Attended a talk yesterday on Hindi cinema after which the conversation turned to cinema and the imagination of an Indian nation. Later, I went to imdb.com to find out about a Mani Ratnam movie and came across the following forum-message attached to Ratnam's in-production Mahabharata. I don't know what the online etiquette is of quoting a forum post but I must share this message that simply floored me - the reading of recent cinema, imagining a Hindustan through its epics, and a particularly specific national spirit. After the fold.

Please make this movie so it will be remembered forever! by thewizkid47 (Wed Mar 7 2007 12:02:38 )


I have been reading the stories of Mahabharata and Ramayana since I was a little child. I used to collect the Amar Chitra Katha comics and know almost every detail of the story. Even now, I think these two stories are the best out of ALL the epics. So far, there have been a lot of countries who have depicted their history in movies. Most of these movies have been from Europe such as Braveheart , Troy, 300, Gladiator. When people first saw Troy, they thought that there would be no better epic movie than this. I told them no because one day Mahabharata will be made. Even China has made its mark by making movies like Hero, House of Flying Daggers, etc. Ancient Egypt's history has also been put into a movie such as The Mummy Trilogy. Others such as the Lord of the Rings are always remembered.

I want the world to see Hindustan's history for once. I want to make a mark. I want people to say, "Wow, that was a good story!" I have watched Mahabharata, the old series on TV, and I still found it very interesting. If Mani Ratnam wishes to make this movie, then please do it with honor because what you will show is what the world will see of India. If you have to wait a year longer or more, then do so. This movie should not be rushed. Here are some suggestions:

1. India needs to be shown as it was in Ancient times, like the jewelry, the palaces, etc. The beautiful India that we all know. The Mummy showed a very nice Ancient Egypt (orange sunlight+desert). This needs to be taken in consideration.
2. I know in Mahabharata, the soldiers didn't wear shirts or anything and exposed themselves. That is okay, but do it in moderation. Indian soldiers and kings need to be shown wearing armor, something that when people see it will respect them.
3. I think this is the most important factor for this movie - SPECIAL EFFECTS! In almost all of the Hollywood movies that are war movies, the special effects have been improving with time. We do not need to copy effects from Matrix. NO ONE has ever seen a magical arrow shot by Ram that could destroy a mountain. So far, Hollywood has been concentrating on modern effects like bullets. The wars have to be spectacular, not some cheesy chariot, weapons made out of plastic, and paper arrows. The demons should look like they are real, something that people will have not seen before. There have been attempts to replicate Asurans in series like Xena, but the best demon examples are from movies like Spawn, Ghost Rider, Blade, etc. The movie should show the numbers and numbers of people in the battlefield like it was in real life. All I can say more is please do not make anything "CHEEZY". Anyone who is well educated in watching movies knows what I mean!
4. MUSIC!!! It's got to be very good because it controls the mood of the audience. One bad song can destroy a movie. Put the music in the right places. They're many specialized people who are very good at this kind of stuff.
5. I'm not worried about the script or the storyline because I already know the story very well. Although, most stories are altered before they hit the big screen. These alterations should not cut out the most interesting parts. The movie doesn't have to summarize the ENTIRE Mahabharata, do a trilogy and split it up into smaller storylines, so people can see the whole thing. Feel free to skip the boring talks and kings just sitting on thrones not doing anything.
6. Humor - I remember Mahabharata, even though very interesting, was very dull, too serious. You don't have to copy the storyline EXACTLY. We are in a modern age, we add our humor in so many ways. Show that the life back in that time was fun and real, not some kind of act.
7. Singing and dancing are a part of Indian movies, I know that, but put it in a place so it is not so random that it just suddenly starts. For example, the movie Don had very good songs and all at the right places. Everything needs to be NATURAL, nothing random. In Mahabharata, there are so many instances where girls are dancing and guys are watching - that's a great place to put a song in. Don't start a song in a middle of a war though!!
8. As for the cast, I'm not worried about it. WORRY MORE ABOUT #3!! Although the best person to play Bheeshma is Amitabh Bachan, other than that let the auditions decide.

Thank you


Ahistoricality | April 27, 2007

That's gonna be an in-class discussion exercise in every film history class....

Rob MacD | April 28, 2007

That's a great post. When people first saw Troy, they thought that there would be no better epic movie than this. Though I question this assertion.

Qalandar | April 28, 2007

I should point out that any reports of Rathnam making a Mahabharata are mere rumors -- he isn't. Every few years this story crops up and in its most recent incarnation it was about Rathnam making one, or Raj Kumar Santoshi making one; the latter did announce his intention to make a Ramayana but financing has been a problem...

Red | April 28, 2007

[i]even though very interesting, was very dull, too serious.[/i] He has obviously missed the bit about Duryodhana falling into a pool and Draupadi laughing at him, and the bit about Kunti's merry go round sexcapades with half the pantheon, and the Amba, Ambika, Ambalika stories. They never fail to crack me up.

vivek | May 09, 2007

That's interesting - by far the only adaptation of the Mahabharata I've seen which I liked - no, loved - was in trilogy form, the warriors wore armor, and there wasn't much by way of song or dance... I don't know about jewelry, but the cast was phenomenal - though I'm afraid Mr. Bachchan went nowhere near this production. In fact the only Indian lead was Mallika Sarabhai. Peter Brook's Mahabharata

Aiyush | July 31, 2007

Hi, I'm the guy who wrote that on IMDB. Thank you for posting it on your website, I appreciate it. Also, to those who think that this movie is not being made, you are wrong. If you check the news, wikipedia, hindustan times, and many other sites confirm it.

Aiyush | July 31, 2007

My post has been updated btw, you check the thread here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0474788/board/nest/68680552?p=1

Aiyush | July 31, 2007

@Red: My post was not supposed to be funny. I made it serious, so people would take it seriously, if a director were to read it. People already know all the funny parts of Mahabharatta. My goal is not to write the script, but to give suggestions. @Rob MacD: Sorry, I did not mean to assert that EVERYONE believed that Troy was that good of a movie. It was only an example to give the right emotion.