begins in 1946 at Mohanjadaro and concluded itself inside a Chennai sewage
construction site in 1999. The screenplay by Kamal Haasan is 181 pages. It
was written on his lap top with an Indianized American software.
Kamal Haasan is probably the
first Tamil (Indian?) screen writer to introduce the American page a minute
system in his films it is easier quickly assess the approximate length
of the movie by just looking at the page numbers. K.H. honed his screenplay
skills with the American Script doctor John Truby.
At a page a minute 181 pages
would translate to 181 minutes of screen time. With 10 minutes of fat, lost
during the editing and adding 20 more minutes for songs, the film would be
over 3 hours. To put it cleverly in James Camron's words the film would be
2 hrs and 75 minutes long.
Kamal Haasan had promised his
brother and co-producer Mr. Chandrahaasan that the Tamil "Hey! Ram" and the
Hindi "Hey! Ram" in 250 rolls. But now he has ended up using 312 rolls nearly
62 rolls more than promised. The unexpected death of Mr. Mohan Gokhle and
Kamal Haasan's tenacious need to get it right is cited as the reason for
the extra 62 rolls. (It roughly amounts to 156 rolls per version.)
The most over looked reason
says the director is that the film has live location sound. Which means you
cannot okay the take with the hope of correcting it during dubbing. Sometimes
the actors forget their lines or a jet plane roars past a scene. Even an
inadvertent sneeze or a noisy light ballast could create the need for a
1 : 10 is not a bad shooting
ratio some say. But Raajkamal Films Producers are not happy. The director
it seems has promised a 1 : 7 ratio in his next project.
The locations were Chennai, Calcutta, Delhi and Benares. A location 45 kms
from Chennai was dug up and re-created, to look like Mohanjadaro excavation
site in Larkhana district, which is now in Pakistan.