One of India’s most exciting filmmakers, Nagraj Manjule (Fandry, Sairat, Jhund) announced today that he’s working on a trilogy on the life of the Maratha king, Shivaji. The director said on his Facebook wall, “Perhaps, this is what [is] called to stand on threshold of a dream…. Today, on the occasion of Birth Anniversary of King Shivaji Maharaj, I am so delighted to announce with Ritesh Deshmukh and Ajay-Atul, The Shivaji Trilogy… Happy Shivajayanti.” There has been talk of this project for a while now. In a 2017 interview, Deshmukh had said to Mid-day, “Marathi films have been driven by good content for a long time. They have thus won many accolades and awards. The team is working hard to make this film one that Shivaji’s followers are proud of. There is a certain pride in playing the role of the great Maratha warrior. It is going to be challenging.”
The trilogy is an Aatpat production (whose first venture into production was Manjule’s Sairat) and will have music by Manjule’s go-to duo, Ajay-Atul. This will be among Riteish’s biggest outings in recent times. As an aside, Villupuram Chinnaiahpillai Ganesan acted in a play called ‘Sivaji Kanda Hindu Samrajyam’ and then for the rest of his life, the Tamil actor was known as ‘Sivaji’ Ganesan.
The first instalment of the Shivaji trilogy will hit the screens in 2021. The teaser seems to hint that the three parts will possibly be called Shivaji, Raja Shivaji and Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Meanwhile, Nagraj Manjule is making his Bollywood debut with Amitabh Bachchan starrer Jhund. The film is a biopic based on the life of Vijay Barse, who founded the NGO, Slum Soccer. The teaser released in January features a crew of young men walking purposefully down a market place even as the fabulous Ajay-Atul’s music sets fire to the visuals. Jhund will release on May 8, 2020.