Director Nitesh Tiwari, who is in the process of creating a three-part marathon feature film series on the Ramayana after Chhichhore, is very clear that in his treatment of the sacrosanct epic, there will be no distortions, no embellishments and no innovation. Tiwari says it would be "foolish to make changes" for the sake of creative liberties or revisionist flourishes. "Given the times we live in, it'd be foolish to make changes in a scripture that is an integral part of every Hindu household. It's a flawless story. I'd be a fool to tamper with it. I am going to be completely faithful to the text. This will be the ‘Ramayan' exactly the way we know it," said Tiwari.
The filmmaker's assertion comes in the wake of last week's development, when the television channel Colors was served a notice by the Ministry Of Information and Broadcasting for spreading distorted religious information in the series Ram Siya Ke Luv Kush. After Dangal and Chhichhore, the Ramayana series is Tiwari's most ambitious project. Produced by Madhu Mantena, Ramayana is said to be the most expensive film project to have ever been made in India. Estimates suggest the budget could be over Rs 600 crore, and the project will take up the next two years of Tiwari's life.
"I am consumed by the idea of doing a large-screen version of this epic. The ‘Ramayan' is a part of almost every Hindu household. I grew up with it as an essential part of my life, and for me making it into a film is an honour I only dreamt of. My prayers have been answered," said the filmmaker. "We are doing it in three sections, as one feature film will be too lengthy. The three feature films will be released after the other with short gaps," he added.
On casting Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone as Ram and Sita, he observed, "That's the wishful casting of devotees of the ‘Ramayan'. I must say the casting sounds perfect, and it shows how keenly people are interested in the project. But the actual casting for me begins only when I've finished writing."