By Parag Deulgaonkar
BR Shetty has an open budget for the movie, first shots will take place in Abu Dhabi
Indian billionaire BR Shetty has kept an open budget for the upcoming movie 'The Mahabharata' and is willing to invest another $100 million if required.
The movie, an adaptation of epic Sanskrit poem the Mahabharata, will feature the best of talents from Indian cinema, as well as some big names from Hollywood.
In April, the founder of Abu Dhabi-based NMC Healthcare, said he would invest $150m in the movie venture, which will be directed by film maker VA Shrikumar Menon.
Speaking to Arabian Business at the launch in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, Shetty said the initial budget could be increased even further if required.
"I have an open budget for the movie. I have already set aside $150 million and I am willing to invest another $100 million if it is needed," Shetty said.
He ruled out plans to raise the money from any financial market, stating, “It’s my personal money. I don’t need to borrow money now.”
Shetty revealed he is expecting to make over $1 billion in revenues from the movie, which will be released across the world by early 2020. Plans are also afoot to convert the massive movie sets, which will include elaborate forests, into a tourist destination, where the movie would be screened all through the year.
“I have been successful in all my ventures and I have that same gut feeling that we will be successful,” Shetty said.
While the shooting of the movie will start in the next 100 days in Abu Dhabi, the rest of the locations haven’t been finalised, movie director Menon said, adding they have been approached by several Indian state governments and the Sri Lankan government.
The movie is based on writer MT Vasudevan Nair’s classic 'Randaamoozham' with Malayalam superstar Mohanlal playing the lead role of Bheema.
Bollywood and Hollywood casting companies have been finalised to pick the actors for the movie, with a number of Indian superstars showing interest in the movie.
"The Mahabharata" will be produced in two parts with half of the budget being spent on VFX, Menon said.
The running time of the movie will be under six hours - equally split between the two parts - with the second part being released within 90 days of the first part.
The film will be shot primarily in English, Hindi and Malayalam to begin with, and will be adapted in over 100 languages, including Arabic.
Truly it would be a historic film and proud moments for all of us in UAE. Looking forward for an epic story unfold in big screens.