Rukmini Maitra To Lead ‘Mahabharata’ Feminist Adaptation ‘Draupadi’

After teaming on Bengali-language film “Binodiini – Ekti Natir Upakhyan” (“Binodiini – Tale of a Theater Artist”), director Ram Kamal Mukherjee and actor Rukmini Maitra are collaborating again on “Draupadi.”

An adaptation of ancient Indian epic “Mahabharata” from its strongest woman character Draupadi’s point of view, “Draupadi” is based on Pratibha Ray’s 1984 Odiya-language novel “Yajnaseni: The Story of Draupadi.”

Ray said: “When director Ram Kamal approached me for the film rights of ‘Yajnaseni’ through my publisher Rupa Publications, I was delighted that even today Indian filmmakers are interested in the story of ‘Mahabharata.’ My book, ‘Yajnaseni,’ is about ‘Mahabharata’ from Draupadi’s point of view with contemporary relevance. ‘Yajnaseni’ is an epitome of patience, penance and power. It’s a creative collaboration, and Ram Kamal being an author himself, will definitely do justice to ‘Yajnaseni’ and her story. I feel we are at the right time to revisit our epics and tell the new generation about our culture and heritage.”

Maitra added: “It’s pleasure to reunite with Ram Kamal after ‘Binodiini’ because he makes me feel comfortable in characters that are extremely challenging to portray on screen. It’s an honor to be a part of ‘Mahabharata,’ a subject that is so close to every Indian. Needless to say this will definitely be one of the most challenging role in my career after ‘Binodiini.’” 

The big-budget Bengali-language project also sees the return of “Binodiini” producers, Bengali film industry star and producer Dev Adhikari via his Dev Entertainment Ventures and Prateek Chakravorty for Pramod Films.

Adhikari said: “After watching Ram Kamal’s work in ‘Binodiini,’ I realized that he has an amazing sense of aesthetics and visual presentation skill. When he shared his dream of making ‘Draupadi,’ I felt that he would certainly do justice to the scale and subject. I have also witnessed the range of Rukmini as a performer in ‘Binodiini,’ and I knew why Ram Kamal wanted to cast her as Draupadi. As a producer uniqueness of his narrative attracted me. It’s going to be a mind-blowing experience for all.”

Chakraborty added: “‘Mahabharata’ is one of the most epic tales ever told. The characters, their journey, their redemptions are life lessons. An attempt to recreate this grandiose saga is both intriguing, exciting and nerve wracking.”

Mukherjee is working alongside Paawaan Aagarwal who is the co-researcher and screenplay writer for the film. 

Mukherjee said: “I am thankful to my producers Dev and Prateek for standing by my vision once again, this time on a much larger scale. I am grateful to Pratibha Ray for giving us the official filming rights of her bestseller novel ‘Yajnaseni.’ And finally, I am overwhelmed to reunite with my most favorite Rukmini as Draupadi. I don’t remember when was the last time Bengali cinema produced a mythological film. Hats off to Dev and Prateek for taking that leap of faith with me and Rukmini.”

“Binodiini” is currently in post. “Draupadi” is heading into four months of pre-production and workshops.

Leave a Comment