Also on cards: A Tamil remake of Manmadhan Ambu
Chennai: The eternal experimenter of Tamil cinema seems to be at it again.
The multi-talented Kamal Haasan, it is learnt, is all set to recreate on celluloid the timeless epic Ramayanam. Coming in the wake of Mani Ratnam who made a brilliant fiasco of Ravanan —- a version of Ramayanam in which rain and darkness were the main protagonist —- Kamal’s planned venture has triggered huge expectations.
Adding to the excitement is the dramatic twist that, true to Kamal’s perennial penchant for novelty, Ramayanam will be remade as Mahabharatam.
Kamal, who lets his clarity shine forth through his confusion, said: ‘When people ask me what is the message of Mahabharatam and Ramayanam, I tell them only one thing: Jesus Christ was a messenger, too. If you want message from me, I can only send an sms’.
But why Ramayanam as Mahabharatam? ‘The hair over the lips is moustache. The hair over chin and cheek is beard. Same man, same face, same hair, but different names… parabrahmam madhiri. What we think to be same is different. What we think to be different is same. Ramayanam and Mahabharatam are same because they are both different. Christ and Allah are same because they are prophets’, Kamal explained his logic in chaste Tamil, which is to say in English, Malayalam and Sanskrit.
Kamal added: ‘Ramayanam, as its name makes it clear, starts with King Dasarathan, the man with several hundreds of wives. In Mahabharatam, King Dirudhirashtra had 100 sons. As a rationalist, I don’t believe both the stories. As a filmmaker, I believe both the stories. When you have 100 wives, 100 sons are inevitable. Mahabharatam is the logical culmination of Ramayanam. Mahabharatam happened because of Ramayanam’.
Kamal has tentatively named his new film Ramabharatham. But eventually, it may be released as Mahayanam.
Meanwhile, sources said that Kamal will play all the 100 wives and all the 100 sons himself, with the highlight of the movie being when the 100 sons meet up the 100 mothers, leading to a screen full of Kamal with the background blaring with the song: ‘Ulaga Nayaganum Ivane, Ulaga Nayagiyum Ivane, Rotary Clubbum Ivanai Azhaikkum…’
One of the highlights of the movie will be the news items that will say that the make-up work for the each role that Kamal plays will take at least 123 hours of preparation.
Elsewhere, reacting to the developments of Ramayanam being remade as Mahabharatam, several Hindu outfits have reacted with a mix of anger and happiness. ‘We protest Kamal’s new movie because we protest anything that Kamal does. But we have no problems over Ramayanam being retold as Mahabharatam. Because if Kamal had been true to his normal self, he could have been counted to remake Mahabharatam as Ali Babavum 100 Thirudargalum,’ said ‘Vetri’ Murali, a Hindu activist in Chennai.
In a late development, sources in the industry said that the top Hollywood production house that had agreed to bankroll the film has quit Kamal’s project and moved to a more bold and ambitious Bollywood venture, in that it involves both Uday Chopra and Zayed Khan in the cast.
With the Ramayanam to Mahabharatam project coming unstuck, Kamal has moved to a new film, which is said to be a Tamil remake of his last released flick Manmadhan Ambu.
‘In the future, I am sure somebody will want to remake Manmadhan Ambu. When I came to this industry I wanted to be a somebody. So it’s only natural and better that I remake Manmadhan Ambu myself,’ Kamal said.
But why remake your own project? ‘Well, if the first couple in the world had asked this question you wouldn’t be here asking this question,’ Kamal said and further explained: ‘Remakes are an inevitable part of evolution. I come from a background and a household that has seen a lot of evolution. There was Charu Haasan, and then evolution moved to Chandra Haasan. And then it came to Kamal Haasan. I was lucky to be part of this unique process. But I will still maintain Sivaji is the ultimate evolutionist having started his life as V C Ganesan’.
Manmadhan Ambu, in its remake, is expected to be made in Tamil in quite contrast to the original, which, by all accounts, was in English, French and C++.
(Disclaimer: No remake rights for this)