As I said in the last post, I’ve been reading quite a bit on the Mahabharata. As I was reading tonight, I commented to my wife that I could envision an updated version of the epic, possibly created by James Cameron. Turns out over the last few years, James Cameron has said himself that he’d love to make the film I’ve proposed. Though given what is currently on his plate, I don’t see it happening until at least 2020.
I’d like to see the story told with the film-making tools currently available. I don’t want to say “special effects” but let’s be honest, we all know what I am talking about, right? I don’t know how many of you have seen the television series of the Mahabharata which ran from 1988-1990, but in my opinion the story surely demands an upgrade from that in acting talent and technology. Not to be flashy, but the way the epic describes all the theretofore unheard of weapons which Arjuna gained along the way? It demands a re-boot.
But this does raise a crucial question: If the makers of that series felt that 94 one-hour episodes were warranted to tell the story, how many, let’s say 2- to 3-hour Cameron films would it take to tell the story? Krishna devotees, and the people of India in general would (rightly) demand a thorough telling of the events leading up to the War at Kurukshetra. It is important to me as a Hindu. The section covering the Bhagavad-Gita itself, Cameron would be hard-pressed to summarize without losing the essence of the timeless teaching.
Can it be done? Was the ’88-’90 serial excessive in it’s detail? I have probably seen 1/3 of it, all things considered.
Westernization is another concern. James Cameron has spent some time in India, and has said that the culture and the spiritual pulse of the sub-continent had a remarkable effect on him. So a little less worry about the movie being done by a Westerner merely for the box office bonanza it would undoubtedly be. Though I understand if that concern remains intact for some.
There has been some talk about him making Ramayana, but he’s already done that as far as I am concerned. He called it “Avatar.” I remember being stopped dead in my tracks in the hallway of a movie theater when I saw the poster for “Avatar”. The allusions to the Hindu epic of Lord Rama, and to Vishnu, were easy to spot. Garuda, Hanuman and his crew, Ravana and Sita. They were all there. And the forest inhabited by the Na’vi mirrored the one to which Sri Rama was “exiled”. though to me it seems more like the one in which the Pandavas spent their 12 year exile in the Mahabharata. No, the movie “Avatar” was not “Ramayana” but the allusions were such that I think Cameron can probably focus his energies on Mahabharata if he has the choice.
Thoughts? Should this movie be made? What effect will this have on a Western audience? What will the implications be for Sanatana-dharma in the modern West?
Jai Hari Aum.