Like many of you, I am enthralled by Amish Tripathi’s ‘Shiva Trilogy’ series. The fictional tale of Lord Shiva, a Tibetan tribal who arrives in Meluha in search of peace for himself and his clan, got me hooked. I fell in love with the ‘Neelkanth’, the ‘Destroyer of Evil’. Last year, film director Karan Johar’s ‘Dharma Productions’ bagged the film rights of the trilogy’s debut novel ‘The Immortals of Meluha’. It was announced that Hrithik Roshan has been roped in to play the lead role of Lord Shiva. Either Deepika Padukone or Kareena Kapoor is rumoured to play princess Sati. I rather like the idea of Deepika Padukone depicting Sati. She’s beautiful, earthy, lithe and athletic. It is easy to imagine her in a dance sequence and in combat.
Hrithik Roshan is a different story. Although he is an extremely skilled actor, I can’t really picture him the way the author has described Lord Shiva. Sure, he is tall, handsome and very appealing, but just not rugged enough. Maybe too refined? Understand, the author has managed to portray Shiva as ‘Lord of the masses’. He has been described as someone you can sit and share your smallest troubles with; like a close friend. But a Lord nonetheless. The actor on the big screen has to reach out to the masses and make them want to get to know Shiva. Hrithik is too huge a superstar for that. He has already carved his niche. We need someone more reachable. A less sophisticated and down-to-earth actor. One name that keeps coming to mind is Ranveer Singh. Dusky, well-built Ranveer Singh. I think he can play Shiva to a T. He can radiate Shiva’s passion and emotions.
Coming to Parvateshvar, he is chief of the Meluhan army, fiercely loyal to his king and country and an unwavering follower of Lord Ram’s ways. He later becomes an ardent supporter of Shiva. I’m thinking Sanjay Dutt as ‘Parva’ (as Anandamayi, princess of Ayodhya, fondly addresses him). Dutt exudes authority, which is an important aspect of this character. He can also be coy and vulnerable, as the character is with Anandamayi. But most of all, he is a true warrior and Dutt can play a warrior to perfection. When I picture Anandamayi, I think of Kareena Kapoor. Hot, seductive, passionate and humourous, Anandamayi’s character brings a burst of colour to the series. Kareena has the talent, face and body. She can nail it!
Sonu Sood can play Veerbhadra, Shiva’s close childhood friend. I picture Bhadra as tall, muscular and good-looking. Sood is all of that and more. He is a skilled actor who can play the role of a man in love and that of a captain on the battlefield. Plus, he won’t steal Shiva’s screen space. Dia Mirza should play the role of Kritika. Sati’s best friend and close companion who later ties the knot with Veerbhadra is portrayed as a caring, affectionate and loyal lady. Mirza comes across as the same.
Nandi, Shiva’s follower right from the start, is devoted, funny, a hearty eater and a brave soldier. He is Govinda. Who else! Govinda would be perfect! Aditi Rao Hydari, she’s Ayurvati for me. Intelligent, capable and very modest, one cannot help but like her instantly. Hydari would be my first choice.
Naseeruddin Shah should play King Daksha, the ruler of Meluha. When I dissect the character, I see weakness, dependence, love and yearning. Shah would be so good for this role! Lastly, the knowledgeable and level-headed chief scientist Brahaspati. A good friend and wise-advisor, Brahaspatiji is a strong character that provides a sense of security. It just has to be Om Puri!
Tripathi has set an extremely high standard and I hope the movie will live up to it! I can hardly wait to watch it.