Back in April, Peepingmoon.com exclusively revealed that India's two big superstars Mahesh Babu and Hrithik Roshan have been offered Madhu Mantena's long-in-the-making, most ambitious Ramayana trilogy. While the Telugu superstar was pitched for the role of Lord Rama, the makers reached out to Hrithik to play the demon King of Lanka — Ravana. However, months later one hears Mahesh Babu would not be a part of this three-part live-action spectacle on the Hindu mythology, supposed to be made at the whopping budget of 600 crores.
Peepingmoon.com has learned that Mahesh Babu has turned down Nitesh Tiwari and Ravi Udyawar's Ramayana retelling citing date issues. The Sarileru Neekevvaru star has apparently passed up the mythological drama after his dates were clashing with his other commitment. "Mahesh Babu has signed Bahubali director SS Rajamouli's next big-scale action movie. He had committed to this project even before Ramayana was offered to him. Rajamouli's Pan-India project has been planned to be shot sometime mid-next year and the makers of Ramayana are also looking at the same time frame. Both the projects require a long-term commitment from the actor and that led him to choose one between the two. Mahesh Babu simply picked Rajamouli over the Madhu Mantena, Allu Aravind and Namit Malhotra backed multilingual 3D series," a source close to the development informed us.
The Ramayana makers have been planning to get the biggest ever Pan-India cast on board and they were close to locking the lead after Hrithik Roshan and Mahesh Babu verbally nodded. However, Babu's exit has again paused the development of the epic. "Ramayana is still at the nascent stage. Although Madhu Mantena has claimed it to have Bollywood's biggest ever cast, the reality is no one is signed as yet. Mahesh Babu has turned down, and Hrithik Roshan too can not be trusted until he starts shooting. They've approached Deepika Padukone and Kareena Kapoor Khan for Sita's role but none of them have responded yet. Mukesh Chhabra is casting actors from across India for supporting characters but the lead A-list casting is still undecided," the source further said.
Meanwhile, Mahesh Babu's film with SS Rajamouli is said to be an adventure action-drama set in the jungles of Africa. Written by Rajamouli's father K.V. Vijayendra Prasad, the yet-untitled spectacle will explore a subject that hasn't been explored much in Indian cinema. A high on VFX film, the KL Narayana production is scheduled to hit the floors around mid-2022 after Mahesh Babu is done with his current commitments of two films. Stay tuned to us for more updates on Ramayana!