Mahabharat over Ramayan

THE BATTLE is hotting up between Uru Patel's Hanuman and Raj Kumar Santoshi's Ramayan. While the former stars Keanu Reeves and Shilpa Shetty as Ram and Sita respectively, the latter boasts of having Ajay Devgan and Kajol play the mythological couple.

And if Uru's Hanuman, to be directed by Louis Mendoki, has a reported budget of $60 million, Santoshi's Ramayan is also being made on an unprecedented budget.

So it's Santoshi versus Mandoki who has directed Hollywood films like When a Man Loves a Woman and Message in a Bottle.

Santoshi has rushed to London to finalise the special effects for Ramayan.

Speaking from there, he says, "Our Ramayan is going to be made on a global scale. So far the tale has only had an impact on Indians. Now we want the profound morality of the Ramayan to embrace the entire globe."

And that's precisely what Uru Patel hopes to achieve with Hanuman.

Uru has finalised Mark Rappaport and his company Creature Effects Inc, responsible for the amazing optical wizardry in The Chronicles Of Narnia and 300, for Hanuman's special effects.

Santoshi has already set a date to start shooting Ramayan.

He says, "I hope to start early next year."

Though he also adds that he hopes to direct two other much smaller projects before plunging in to direct Ramayan.

"But we're certain about starting on schedule. As for Hanuman, I see no problem there. Our mythology, especially the Ramayan, is such a storehouse of knowledge and open to so many interpretations. I'm sure they'll have their own take and we'll have our own," adds Santoshi.

One thing is for sure. Next year is going to be the year of mythologicals.

While Ramayan and Hanuman are heading towards an international battle at the box-office, Bobby Bedi also plans a take on the Ramayan, while Rituparno wants to film the Drapaudi episode from the Mahabharat with Bipasha Basu in the lead.

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