The success of Jodhaa Akbar seems to have triggered a new formula in Bollywood. Now every second filmmaker seems to be cashing in on the epic tales that our land is known for. After Aishwarya Rai’s portrayal as the young yet brave Jodhaa, the Bachchan bahu will be seen playing the title role in Ketan Mehta’s Rani Of Jhansi. Now, if the ex-Miss World is enacting the role of a historical character, how far can our ex-Miss Universe be? Apparently, Sushmita Sen is not only acting in but is also directing a similar project on the Rani Laxmibai.

A war has been launched now. But is it just Ash and Sush in the race? Doesn’t look like it. Grapevine suggests that Deepika Padukone and Nandana Sen are also strong contenders for the role of the brave Maratha queen in films made by Feroze Nadiadwala and a TV channel respectively. According to sources, Nadiadwala’s version of the film will focus more on the queen’s friendship with Tatya Tope, to be played by Akshay Kumar. This will also mark Akki’s first attempt doing a historical project.

Now, it’s not just Rani Laxmibai who seems to have ‘inspired’ the creative honchos in showbiz. Raj Kumar Santoshi is all set to make not one but three films based on epic tales. While one is based on Samrat Ashok, the other will be an umpteenth remake of Mahabharatha. The latter is touted as a 100 crore budget film while the former will have his favourite Ajay Devgan playing the lead role with Bipasha Basu as the female lead. His third film will be based on Ramayana with the real life couple, Ajay and Kajol playing Ram and Sita.

Like Bollywood will soon have three versions of Jhansi Ki Rani, it is bound to have three versions of Mahabharatha as well. Apparently, Bobby Bedi and Rituparno Ghosh are also intending to make films based on this mythological epic. Ghosh’s version will focus on Draupadi and he has approached the sexy Bips to play the wronged queen.

It’s apparent that a lack of original scripts in Bollywood has led to the sudden surge of historicals in the market. We wonder what the filmmakers plan to come up with once they run out of epic tales as well.

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First it was Ketan Mehta’s Rani Of Jhansi featuring Aishwarya Rai which is long pending. Then came Sushmita Sen announcing her directorial debut in a film based on the life of Rani Laxmibai. And now the new buzz around the block is Deepika and Akshay are to be cast in Firoz Nadiadwala’s production, Rani Laxmibai. Last but not the least, even Nandana Sen has been roped in to play Laxmibai by a TV channel. Queen of Jhansi, Rani Laxmibai played a key role in the uprising against India’s then British colonial rulers. She died at the age of 23 on the battlefield while fighting British soldiers in 1858.

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Nandana Sen (she played younger sister to Rani Mukerji in Black) too has been offered to play the role of Laxmibai in Tom Clegg’s international television mini-series. The show is called Sharpe’s Peril and it’s about Richard Sharpe, a fictional British soldier in the Napoleonic Wars. The shooting of series has already begun in Occha, which is also the birthplace of Rani Laxmibai.

Deepika Padukone Firoz Nadiadwala’s production house too has declared to make a movie on the warrior queen Rani Laxmibai. Vinay Shukla will be directing it. Vinay is keen on casting Deepika for the lead role. The film will also star Akshay Kumar in the role of Tantya Tope.

After Ketan Mehta made Mangal Pandey – The Rising, he is keen on making a film on the life of Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi. The film will star Aishwarya Rai in the lead role

The film Rani Laxmibai will see Sushmita as a producer for the first time. To be directed by Ketan Desai (son of Manmohan Desai), the film will be made under her Production House banner Tantra Productions.

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