By RAHUL RAUT
Hindi cinema has always had an incredible and unique relationship with animals. They haven’t been shown as just pets but have been given so much importance in films. ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ (1971), ‘Naagin’ (1976), ‘Teri Meherbaniyan (1985)’, ‘Parivaar (1987)’, ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’ (1989), ‘Aankhen’ (1993), ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!’ (1994), ‘Chillar Party’ (2011) among others are some movies where animals were not used just as props but played an integral part in the movies. In fact, in certain movies, animals have stolen limelights from the lead actors.
Although it’s always a treat to watch animals on the big screen, it has been a long we haven’t witnessed any Hindi film that explores an unparalleled equation between a human and animal. There were films like ‘Entertainment’ and ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ recently where a dog plays an amazing part that critically wove through the plot of the film, but such films have been just a few in the count.
Especially, the use of elephants has almost disappeared in Hindi films. Once the movies about human-elephant relationship used to attract a larger crowd to the theatres but now the four-legged creatures aren’t shown even as props in films, except films like ‘Baahubali 2′ and other historical dramas where elephants have been used just as pets.
However, 2018, it seems, is going to be different in terms of the presence of elephants in movies. The next year will see two big-budget movies revolving around the behemoth creatures. Come 19th October 2018, the world will witness the release of an action-adventure Hindi film about a man and an elephant after a very long hiatus. Junglee Pictures’ this thriller movie, titled ‘Junglee’ stars Vidyut Jammwal in lead and narrates a heart-warming relationship between man and elephants.
‘Junglee’ throws lights on an issue of global significance, with the United Nations lobbying to end poaching and the ivory movement. Vidyut plays the character of Ashwath, who after his homecoming to an elephant reserve, confronts an international poacher’s racket. The story unfolds in the jungle of Kerala, Odisha, West Bengal and spans to Thailand.
Hollywood filmmaker Chuck Russel, who has given films like ‘The Mask’, ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’, ‘The Scorpion King’ and ‘I Am Wrath’, is directing this most expensive production of Junglee Pictures. The shooting for this adventure drama has already begun and is going full-on swing.
After ‘Junglee’, Indian film industry will experience yet another adventure movie in November 2018. Eros International’s Trinity Pictures is making a big-budget Hindi-Tamil-Telugu trilingual film in the name of ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’. Though this movie shares the title with the 1971 original featuring Rajesh Khanna and Tanuja, it’s said to be inspired by real-life events.
The trilingual will have a wild life as its backdrop primarily speaking about elephant conservation. It’s a rare story about the relevance of nature in our lives, narrated through a wonderful relationship between man and elephant. The film, expected to be high on VFX, will roll in January and will be shot in India and Thailand.
Rana Daggubati who was last seen in SS Rajamouli’s mega-blockbuster ‘Baahubali 2’, has been signed in to play the lead character in this film to be helmed by Tamil filmmaker Prabhu Solomon. Solomon who is making his Hindi directorial debut with this film is known as one of the finest craftsmen when it comes to the movies set against the backdrop of nature. His most successful film till date, Mynaa, ‘Kumki’ and ‘Kayal’ all have been centred on creatures.
With two back-to-back films revolving around the unique relationship between a man and elephant scheduled to release next year, Hindi film industry is surely going to deliver Disney feel to its audience, after a very long time.