Before Brahmastra, Amitabh Bachchan’s Taalisman Would Have Been Bollywood's High-Fantasy Drama
Before ‘Brahmastra’, Big B’s ‘Taalismaan’ Was Bollywood’s Answer To ‘The Lord Of The Rings’!

What are your thoughts on Amitabh Bachchan as an Indian Gandalf?

With Brahmastra raking in tens of crores every day, questions pertaining to “why didn’t Bollywood dabble in high fantasy earlier?” have cropped up on the internet. Well, if you’ve been thinking the same, the answer is that we actually did. Or at least attempted to. Back in early 2009, Vidhu Vinod Chopra set out to make a Lord of The Rings-esque high-fantasy drama for the Hindi audience, titled Taalismaan, which starred none other than Amitabh Bachchan in the lead!


The project was supposed to be a live-action adaptation of the Indian epic Chandrakanta (published in 1888). While the movie never got made for reasons we’ll get into later, we did get a brief minute-and-a-half teaser of Sr. Bachchan riding a horse into an empty battlefield. It was very reminiscent of the iconic Gandalf scene from Return Of The King.   

So, what happened? As it turns out, after working on a script for around three years, neither the director Ram Madhvani nor his co-writer Swanand Kirkire, could zero in on a script that Chopra could approve.   


While speaking to Zoom TV, Madhavi shed light on the behind-the-scenes struggle, and said, “I think right now Taalismaan is out of my system and that’s very very sad. You know we spend so much time on stories. I have maybe about eight scripts right now on my shelves, which I have worked with full dialogues, sometimes with music and then six of those I would say are out of my system. It’s over.”  

He further added, “Just another mountain that I could not climb. These things take time and you know you try and make certain things work and in every filmmaker’s life there will be scripts and stories and films that didn’t happen and you know so it’s again just a natural part of this mountain.”  

But, a weak script wasn’t the only issue Chopra faced during production. As per reports, the budget of the movie stretched with every passing day, given the heavy VFX work involved. Additionally, the producers couldn’t finalize the rest of the cast, further stretching the timelines. However, between 2008 and 2009, there were several reports of the movie being shot in Bhutan. Eventually, Taalismaan was canned in 2011. This piece of news was even confirmed by the veteran actor on Twitter while answering a fan.  

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The incident can be traced back to a time Bachchan had a bottleneck schedule with Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar Raj, followed by Shoojit Sircar’s Shoebite (which deserves a story of its own), and Mira Nair’s Shantaram (which also deserves a separate story.)   


Meanwhile, director and writer Ram Madhvani had to wait until 2016’s Neerja, in order to make a return to the limelight, which he followed up with his acclaimed TV series Aarya, starring Sushmita Sen. Producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra, on the other hand, had moved on to a little-known Rajkumar Hirani and Aamir Khan project, Three Idiots. All’s well that ends well, right?  

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