By Subhash K. Jha, Bollywood Hungama News Network
Prakash Jha's next directorial venture Rajniti is going to be the most expensive film he as ever produced. In it he blends contemporary Indian politics with chapters from the Mahabharat in a mix that promises to be the avant-garde director's headiest yet.
And Prakash has accumulated a formidable cast of actors. "There's Ajay Devgan who will play a modern-day Karn. And believe it or not, Nana Patekar who was fantastic as the corrupt politician in Apharan, has been cast as Krishna!"
Also in the cast are Viveik Oberoi and Manoj Bajpai in pivotal roles. "These are actors I've not worked with before. I'm looking forward to directing them. Ajay and Nana are old friends. We share a fantastic comfort level." In fact recently, Marathi Manoos Nana and Bihari Bhai Prakash took part in a passionate debate on the oust-Biharis-from-Maharashtra campaign on NDTV.
After the debate Raj Thackeray apparently rang up Prakash for presenting a balanced view. Says Prakash, "Raj is a friend and an intelligent educated man. I truly believe artistes need to rise above politics. I make cinema on politics. But I'd never be part of it. Likewise, Nana who was so stunning as a wily politician in Apharan, will I'm sure be equally adept playing Krishna in my Rajniti"
The character of Arjun as conceived by Prakash, modernizes the mythological elements from the Mahabharat to include elements from Rajiv Gandhi's life. For this role, Prakash has already zeroed down on the latest Bollywood heartthrob, Ranbir Kapoor.
Rajiniti won't be the first contemporary take on the Mahabharat. Three decades ago Shyam Benegal attempted to incorporate elements from the Mahabharat into contemporary entrepreneurship in the film Kalyug. Now, Prakash Jha will blend mythology into Indian politics.
Interestingly, earlier he wanted to film just the Draupadi section of the Mahabharat with Madhuri Dixit in the lead. He shelved the idea when he heard other filmmakers were barking up the same tree.