Junglee Pictures has geared up for its big Bollywood film, a modern re-telling of Hanuman with Punjabi filmmaker Anurag Singh. Anurag has to his credit, Punjabi cinema’s highest grosser, Punjab 1984. The filmmaker has taken his dream further and has locked the script of his Bollywood debut. The film has tentatively been titled Hanu-maan. In the past, we have had films like Hanuman Vijay (1974), Bajrangbali (1976) and Hanuman (2005), among others that were based on Hanuman.
Anurag explains, “It’s a superhero film that marries mythology with modern technology. Without delving into ancient concepts, we’re re-inventing the morals he stands for.” Anurag had met Priti Shahani, President of Junglee Pictures two years ago and sketched out the idea to her in one line. Says Anurag, “She called the concept a clutter-breaker and though we discussed other ideas, she kept coming back to this one. Now, it’s like we are both realising our dream.”
The lead pair of the film is yet to be finalised. The script revolves around Hanuman, son of the wind God Pawan who is a loyal devotee of Ram. But Hanuman being a brahmachari scripting a love interest for him could agitate devotees. But Anurag is confident. He adds, “Hanuman bhakts will be the biggest fans of his film. I’m not questioning the legend of Hanuman, rather like any devotee, I’m appreciative of him. The tone will be reverential, just as it is in animation shows for children like Chhota Bheem, Bal Ganesh and Bal Hanuman, but the film’s scale is huge.” The protagonist Hanu-maan, is a fun guy with mischievous powers, drawn from Hanuman’s energy, wisdom and devotion.
The incorporation of Indian elements is essential, Anurag feels. “More recently, Baahubali, even though not a superhero film, was an extraordinary success because the director merged Indian grammar with contemporary technique. For any superhero film, a classic tale needs a modern retelling. That said, you can’t copy Hollywood in terms of scale because we don’t have that kind of money. So you have to match them with your storytelling,” the filmmaker adds.