VA Shrikumar Menon’s upcoming magnum opus Mahabharata has been in the news for its Rs.1000-crore budget and the array of stars it will have, including Mollywood actor Mohanlal as Bheema.
Slated to go on the floors next year for a 2020 release, the film is based on Malayalam author MT Vasudevan Nair's much-acclaimed novel Randaamoozham, a book that Mohanlal said he grew up reading.
The book “deeply influenced” him, the actor recently said in his blog, which is why perhaps he has also said that he is going to spend the next two years training for the role of Bheema.
“Like most children in India, I too grew up listening to the tales of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Bheema for most people who read Mahabharata was a loyal brother with a huge body and a large appetite. It was after MT Vasudevan Nair's novel Randamoozham that many understood that other than just having a huge figure, Bheema was an emotional being,” Mohanlal said.
He added that while he learnt about Bheema’s emotional side, he never thought of making it into a film. “But many decades later, there is a plan to make a two part movie and MT himself has written the screenplay. He has chosen me as Bheema and I am humbled,” Mohanlal added.
Even so, this is not the first time Mohanlal will take on the role of the mighty Pandava. He said that he had earlier played Bheema in Rangam, a film released in 1975. He also played the role in the 1999 film Vanaprastham. However, this one holds a special place for Mohanlal as he said that it was an opportunity “to fully transform into Bheema”.
Mohanlal said that his training over the next two years will be intensive, as he wants to excel at playing the part of the warrior.
“I will train to be Bheema for the next two years. The film will have various forms of warfare including use of clubs. I will train under various gurus,” he said.
“I may need to stay away from other projects for one or one and half years, but this is for the fulfilment of a dream. Many have expressed doubts over whether Bheema will materialise. It may or may not, but it is important to dream,” he added.