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Meet billionaire Shetty, who will invest Rs 1,000 cr for The Mahabharata

Shetty expects the movie to be adapted in over 100 languages and reach over 3 billion people

Veer Arjun Singh 

B R Shetty
B R Shetty

Of the many opportunities that have offered themselves to Karnataka-born Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, among the richest Indians in West Asia, the one he remembers the most is the one to romance Sridevi, albeit on screen. Except, his wife put her foot down. The 75-year-old father of four is now trying something even more ambitious: a Rs 1,000-crore film on The Mahabharata, the mother of all potboilers, which, if it sees light of the day, will be the costliest movie ever made in India.

It has been an eventful life for Shetty. He was 31 when he quit the job as a municipal council officer in his hometown of Udupi and left for the United Arab Emirates. All he had was a degree in pharmacy and a handful of Dirhams in his pocket. Shetty started out as a door-to-door salesman. He washed the only shirt he had every night so that he could start for the next day’s labour grime-free.

 Skip to three decades later. Shetty is a billionaire and philanthropist who runs New Medical Centre, UAE’s largest private health care provider, among other businesses, and is the recipient of various honours, including the Padma Shri. The serial entrepreneur’s involvement with financial services in 1980 created the UAE Exchange that now has a network in 32 countries. His personal wealth is estimated at $3.2 billion.

 Shetty has preserved a suitcase he used to load and carry from clinic to clinic to equip his next generations with humility.

The film on The Mahabharata will be a visual adaptation of M T Vasudevan Nair’s novel, Randamoozham, in which the epic battle unfolds through the eyes of Bhima. M T, as he is better known, says he had dreamt of turning his novel into a film ever since he finished writing it in 1983. “Over the last three decades, many film makers approached me with the proposal to make this into a film. It took this long as I didn’t meet anyone who could envisage it the way I always had.”

That changed when he met V A Shrikumar, a noted ad film maker who shared Nair’s dream of creating a global project at par with Hollywood: it was Shrikumar who approached Shetty with the script. The film will be Shrikumar’s second after he wraps up Odiyan, his directorial debut. He says given the scale of the project, he had asked Shetty for Rs 850 crore — instead, he was given a budget of Rs 1,000 crore.

Shetty expects the movie to be adapted in over 100 languages and reach over 3 billion people across continents. “The Mahabharata is the epic of all epics. This movie will be a true ‘Make in India’ for the world. It will reposition India and its prowess in mythological storytelling,” believes Shetty. He adds he was awestruck by M T’s screenplay. “I have tremendous faith in the ability of Shrikumar to paint this narrative on celluloid. His passion and energy is boundless.”

 Mohanlal, 57, will play Bhim’s character in the film that will be made in two parts: the second releasing within 90 days of the first. This dwarfs the Rs 430-crore budget for the two-part period drama Baahubali, the most expensive Indian film yet, the second installment of which releases this month. “We are fully geared to attain the next level of production quality and visual magic, as well as narrative wizardry with this initiative,” says Shrikumar.

 Shetty’s financial commitment speaks of his passion for the project. But how will a man, who has an empire worth billions of dollars in the UAE, be a part of an Indian film? “I am yet to discuss about his level of involvement,” says M T, adding that Shrikumar is sorting out the logistics with the first-time producer.

 It will be party time for animation studios when the film hits the production floor in September next year. The creators are banking on world-class visual effects, which could surpass those of Baahubali. The technical crew is speculated to include Academy Award winners and big names from Hollywood. And Shetty plans to bring in the cast from all over the world, which he says will represent the myriad characters in

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Meet billionaire Shetty, who will invest Rs 1,000 cr for The Mahabharata

Shetty expects the movie to be adapted in over 100 languages and reach over 3 billion people

Shetty expects the movie to be adapted in over 100 languages and reach over 3 billion people
Of the many opportunities that have offered themselves to Karnataka-born Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, among the richest Indians in West Asia, the one he remembers the most is the one to romance Sridevi, albeit on screen. Except, his wife put her foot down. The 75-year-old father of four is now trying something even more ambitious: a Rs 1,000-crore film on The Mahabharata, the mother of all potboilers, which, if it sees light of the day, will be the costliest movie ever made in India.

It has been an eventful life for Shetty. He was 31 when he quit the job as a municipal council officer in his hometown of Udupi and left for the United Arab Emirates. All he had was a degree in pharmacy and a handful of Dirhams in his pocket. Shetty started out as a door-to-door salesman. He washed the only shirt he had every night so that he could start for the next day’s labour grime-free.

 Skip to three decades later. Shetty is a billionaire and philanthropist who runs New Medical Centre, UAE’s largest private health care provider, among other businesses, and is the recipient of various honours, including the Padma Shri. The serial entrepreneur’s involvement with financial services in 1980 created the UAE Exchange that now has a network in 32 countries. His personal wealth is estimated at $3.2 billion.

 Shetty has preserved a suitcase he used to load and carry from clinic to clinic to equip his next generations with humility.

The film on The Mahabharata will be a visual adaptation of M T Vasudevan Nair’s novel, Randamoozham, in which the epic battle unfolds through the eyes of Bhima. M T, as he is better known, says he had dreamt of turning his novel into a film ever since he finished writing it in 1983. “Over the last three decades, many film makers approached me with the proposal to make this into a film. It took this long as I didn’t meet anyone who could envisage it the way I always had.”

That changed when he met V A Shrikumar, a noted ad film maker who shared Nair’s dream of creating a global project at par with Hollywood: it was Shrikumar who approached Shetty with the script. The film will be Shrikumar’s second after he wraps up Odiyan, his directorial debut. He says given the scale of the project, he had asked Shetty for Rs 850 crore — instead, he was given a budget of Rs 1,000 crore.

Shetty expects the movie to be adapted in over 100 languages and reach over 3 billion people across continents. “The Mahabharata is the epic of all epics. This movie will be a true ‘Make in India’ for the world. It will reposition India and its prowess in mythological storytelling,” believes Shetty. He adds he was awestruck by M T’s screenplay. “I have tremendous faith in the ability of Shrikumar to paint this narrative on celluloid. His passion and energy is boundless.”

 Mohanlal, 57, will play Bhim’s character in the film that will be made in two parts: the second releasing within 90 days of the first. This dwarfs the Rs 430-crore budget for the two-part period drama Baahubali, the most expensive Indian film yet, the second installment of which releases this month. “We are fully geared to attain the next level of production quality and visual magic, as well as narrative wizardry with this initiative,” says Shrikumar.

 Shetty’s financial commitment speaks of his passion for the project. But how will a man, who has an empire worth billions of dollars in the UAE, be a part of an Indian film? “I am yet to discuss about his level of involvement,” says M T, adding that Shrikumar is sorting out the logistics with the first-time producer.

 It will be party time for animation studios when the film hits the production floor in September next year. The creators are banking on world-class visual effects, which could surpass those of Baahubali. The technical crew is speculated to include Academy Award winners and big names from Hollywood. And Shetty plans to bring in the cast from all over the world, which he says will represent the myriad characters in

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Business Standard
177 22

Meet billionaire Shetty, who will invest Rs 1,000 cr for The Mahabharata

Shetty expects the movie to be adapted in over 100 languages and reach over 3 billion people

Of the many opportunities that have offered themselves to Karnataka-born Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, among the richest Indians in West Asia, the one he remembers the most is the one to romance Sridevi, albeit on screen. Except, his wife put her foot down. The 75-year-old father of four is now trying something even more ambitious: a Rs 1,000-crore film on The Mahabharata, the mother of all potboilers, which, if it sees light of the day, will be the costliest movie ever made in India.

It has been an eventful life for Shetty. He was 31 when he quit the job as a municipal council officer in his hometown of Udupi and left for the United Arab Emirates. All he had was a degree in pharmacy and a handful of Dirhams in his pocket. Shetty started out as a door-to-door salesman. He washed the only shirt he had every night so that he could start for the next day’s labour grime-free.

 Skip to three decades later. Shetty is a billionaire and philanthropist who runs New Medical Centre, UAE’s largest private health care provider, among other businesses, and is the recipient of various honours, including the Padma Shri. The serial entrepreneur’s involvement with financial services in 1980 created the UAE Exchange that now has a network in 32 countries. His personal wealth is estimated at $3.2 billion.

 Shetty has preserved a suitcase he used to load and carry from clinic to clinic to equip his next generations with humility.

The film on The Mahabharata will be a visual adaptation of M T Vasudevan Nair’s novel, Randamoozham, in which the epic battle unfolds through the eyes of Bhima. M T, as he is better known, says he had dreamt of turning his novel into a film ever since he finished writing it in 1983. “Over the last three decades, many film makers approached me with the proposal to make this into a film. It took this long as I didn’t meet anyone who could envisage it the way I always had.”

That changed when he met V A Shrikumar, a noted ad film maker who shared Nair’s dream of creating a global project at par with Hollywood: it was Shrikumar who approached Shetty with the script. The film will be Shrikumar’s second after he wraps up Odiyan, his directorial debut. He says given the scale of the project, he had asked Shetty for Rs 850 crore — instead, he was given a budget of Rs 1,000 crore.

Shetty expects the movie to be adapted in over 100 languages and reach over 3 billion people across continents. “The Mahabharata is the epic of all epics. This movie will be a true ‘Make in India’ for the world. It will reposition India and its prowess in mythological storytelling,” believes Shetty. He adds he was awestruck by M T’s screenplay. “I have tremendous faith in the ability of Shrikumar to paint this narrative on celluloid. His passion and energy is boundless.”

 Mohanlal, 57, will play Bhim’s character in the film that will be made in two parts: the second releasing within 90 days of the first. This dwarfs the Rs 430-crore budget for the two-part period drama Baahubali, the most expensive Indian film yet, the second installment of which releases this month. “We are fully geared to attain the next level of production quality and visual magic, as well as narrative wizardry with this initiative,” says Shrikumar.

 Shetty’s financial commitment speaks of his passion for the project. But how will a man, who has an empire worth billions of dollars in the UAE, be a part of an Indian film? “I am yet to discuss about his level of involvement,” says M T, adding that Shrikumar is sorting out the logistics with the first-time producer.

 It will be party time for animation studios when the film hits the production floor in September next year. The creators are banking on world-class visual effects, which could surpass those of Baahubali. The technical crew is speculated to include Academy Award winners and big names from Hollywood. And Shetty plans to bring in the cast from all over the world, which he says will represent the myriad characters in

image
Business Standard
177 22