As long as humanity exists, every village will have an abode to worship you.
So said Maharshi Vashishtha. That’s how Lord Rama is immortalised in India. Called Maryada Purushottaman, hailed by even Rakshasas like Mareecha as Ramo Vigrahavaan Dharmah, his story was written by many people. In many variations. In those many ways they understood his story. Obviously, our filmmakers are smitten by his story right from the beginning. And their fantasies are injected into the original by Valmiki and adulterate the content.
Leaving aside this, in recent times, the fascination with historicals and epics of Indian literature has been increasing among the filmmakers. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has made himself a name with films like Bajirao Mastani and Padmavat. But it is after Baahubali that there is a rush to make films with such backdrops. Recently, Tollywood producer Allu Aravind wanted to make Ramayana into a three part film trilogy. But before he could conclusively announce the project, Tanhaji director aim Raut announced a film with All India Star Prabhas titled Adipurush based on the Itihaasa Ramayana. It’ll be made on the lines of Amar Chitra Katha.
Then came the rumours and false announcements about a Ramayana based film with Deepika Padukone as Sita. Initially it was rumoured that Bollywood Greek God Hrithik Roshan will play Lord Rama. Later Tollywood superstar Mahesh Babu name attached to the project as Lord Rama and Hrithik’s role changed from Rama to Ravana. Such a fascinating and curious cast. In between these two reigning superstar of Bollywood Akshay Kumar announced Ramsetu about the eponymous bridge built by Lord Rama to cross the ocean to reach Lanka.
All okay! Filmmakers have their right to announce and make films on any subject they want to. It’s also true that filmmakers flock to make same kind of films following a trend. But what makes it curious is is it because of the current ruling party at the centre is built up on the single point agenda of building Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. All these films and the talk surrounding them started in the last couple of years. If we check the dates properly, it’s after the 2019 general elections. Just when the Ayodhya verdict was about to come out.
Or is it really to educate the youth of our culture and cultural icons? But this is certainly not the case with Bollywood filmmakers especially as they proved multiple times to encash the trends. Especially the controversial statement by Said Ali Khan earlier in February when he said the film will show a more humanised form of Ravana. Controversies and hijacking trends for the sake of publicity is typical of many ‘woods. We have seen how Chapaak - a great story about an inspiring personality is made with an agenda and the CAA protests are used to promote it. Of course, how it’s backfired is seen by us.
In conclusion, films are being made. On various subjects. But the makers better be forthcoming in their ways than just try to encash the situations. Else, if the government changes, the subject interpretation will also change. Personally speaking, this writer is all in for these three films. Especially the Ramsetu movie. We can expect a good discussion on the subject. But... still doubts persists.