Karan Johar vs Hollywood: Who will win the race to film Amish Tripathi’s Immortals of Meluha?

Hollywood and Bollywood – the two most prominent film industries in the world have acquired rights to make the award-winning book into a film. How different will the approach of each be? Will KJo add naach-gaana? Will the Americans ace it with technology? We try and figure this one out…

Karan Johar expressed his eagerness to make a film on Amish Tripathi’s bestselling novel Immortals of Meluha a couple of years ago. He bought the Bollywood adaptation rights for the book based on Lord Shiva, but the ace Indian filmmaker has yet not started working on it, even after calling it his ‘most ambitious project’ yet. We wonder why…

More recently, a US-based producer bought the rights to the Hollywood adaptation of the same novel. Amish Tripathi announced this at the Jaipur literary festival a few weeks ago, but did not want to give details. Will the Hollywood adaptation be better than KJo’s? And will it be released before Karan’s version? We ponder…

So we decided to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the two versions.

First: Karan has been making films on human relationships all his career and Immortals of Meluha is based on Shiva’s personal life and his relationships. On the other hand, there are very few Hollywood films that have a deep understanding of Indian interpersonal dynamics or mythology. For instance, the West often finds it difficult to understand how a son can spend his whole life living with his parents. And then there is the matter of making films on relationships – the Los Angeles Times published a feature article a few months ago with the headline: ‘Why so many Hollywood relationship movies are box-office duds’. The story stated that many H-Town movies that had relationships as their focus were flops because the audience just did not connect well to the theme. Although there have been movies like My Sister’s Keeper, The Magic Of Belle Isle, Rum Diaries,The Descendants, etc, based on relationships, we know KJo will do it better. And with Shiva as the central character – the desi magic would rule!

After Karan Johar, US producer buys rights of Amish Tripathi’s Shiva trilogy The Immortals of Meluha

Second: Hollywood films are known for their technology, visual effects and big budget. The Hollywood film would definitely take advantage of all the three and make the movie a grand spectacle. Movies like Avatar, Transformers, X-Men, Titanic, Avengers, etc are testament to that fact. No Indian producer could muster up such monies – productions like RA One and Blue pride themselves on their budget, although none has been even a tenth of what a Hollywood movie’s production could cost. So if the US-based producer takes on the project, it would likely make for a far more impressive movie, with Shiva’s character as super-powered as Iron Man, Superman, Spiderman or Wolverine.

Will Karan Johar still be making Immortals of Meluha?

Third: KJo’s attitude towards making the film is a big let-down. Hollywood films are made on a grand scale and tend to fulfil the commitments they make, especially apropos deadline, even if it is announced a couple of years in advance. In contrast, Karan has not even started scripting for the film, he says, though he has had it for the past two years. He could be working on it away from the prying eyes of the media, but we all know that he has been busy with hosting chat shows, judging reality shows and producing movies for other directors. He seems to have lost that drive to direct that he had in his initial days as a filmmaker. When Johar decided to bring the world of Meluha alive on the big screen, he said, “For me, it is not just another film. I would say it would be a game-changer for Dharma.” But to us, it seems as if he has stopped playing the game, never mind changing it. And wethinks Immortals Of Meluha is the last thing on KJo’s mind for now.

Now we leave it to you BollywoodLifers, to decide which movie would be better…and faster made. As Indians, we want Bollywood to win this race. But as ardent fans of the Shiva trilogy, we want it to be made in Hollywood first so that it could have all the advantages those budgets and technology can give it. What do you think?