Vivek Agnihotri’s next movie a ‘historical recounting of Mahabharata’

Bengaluru: For their next movie venture, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri and his actor-wife Pallavi Joshi have zeroed in on the critically-acclaimed Kannada novel, “Parva”, by S L Bhyrappa.

The 1979 Kannada book is a retelling of the Sanskrit epic ‘Mahabharata’. Considered among Bhyrappa’s most widely debated and popular works, “Parva” weaves its tale through the personal reflections of the principal characters.

“I was looking for a historical recounting of Mahabharat’ and then I learnt Bhyrappa spent decades researching and that he even visited the places that the epic was set in,” Agnihotri said at the launch of the first-look poster of the film here on Friday evening.

Joshi said there have been debates in society whether ‘Mahabharata’ is actually “our history or if it is just mythology”.

“This book breaks the barriers and explains to us what the truth is. I was a little worried about whether people were ready for the truth. But as we researched more into it, I realised that this is a film that has to be made,” she added.

Agnihotri said he will be adapting the book into a three-part film along with Prakash Belawadi, the Bengaluru-based theatre exponent who has also acted in films across many languages.

Belawadi said “Parva” is an interesting material for dramatic exploration.

His eight-hour English stage adaptation of “Parva” is being showcased at Chowdiah Memorial Hall here. The last show will be held on October 22.

“Eight-hour concept is fairly a new experience for an English theatre enthusiast, but quite normal for someone tuned into traditional Indian theatre like Yakshagana. Tala Maddale or Doddata, which have always been all-night affairs,” said Belawadi.

Author Bhyrappa, who released the poster, recalled watching Peter Brook’s “The Mahabharata” in 1989, which lasted for nine hours and ran to a full house at the same venue, Chowdiah Memorial Hall.

“So, 34 years ago, I was thinking to myself that if an outsider can bring his interpretation of ‘Mahabharata’ to stage, I should also be able to do it. Now, I am happy that we are even going to have a celluloid interpretation of ‘Parva’,” he added.

Agnihotri said he is yet to develop the project in detail, including the budget.

The filmmaker revealed that he would be using the newest technology, AI, to take the tale to a larger audience.

“We will be making the film in two languages first Hindi and Kannada. But we are also hoping to eventually get it dubbed in English and Spanish, with the aid of AI,” added the director.

Agnihotri’s most recent release was “The Vaccine War”, featuring Joshi and Nana Patekar. The movie made its debut in theatres in September.

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