Om Sweet Om

Om Sweet Om

Tim Burton’s Ramayana in 3-D!

Coming soon to a theater near you? Okay, so maybe not quite yet.
But the Indian media is buzzing with rumors day-dreams of the award-winning filmmaker —  most famous for his use of magic realism to create dark-but-amazingly-beautiful cult classics — re-telling one of India’s beloved tales, and the Ramayana seems the best fit. 

The idea stems from a blog post by Indian film director Shekhar Kapur, who was on the jury of the Cannes film festival (which Burton headed up this year). Kapur blogged his appreciation for Burton and his enthusiasm to see Burton work in India and on Indian themes:


Tim Burton is a
compassionate and gentle person that is so eager to learn about other
people and cultures. He is also completely fascinated by India, so I
have invited him to come and see if there is something he would like to
shoot in India. India is a country that accepts mythology and magic realism as an
essential part of it’s culture, as does Tim Burton in is film making.
It would be fascinating to see Tim Burton’s visual take on some of our
tradition folk tales.

(read the whole post here)

Kapur also tweeted his desire: “Tim Burton loves India and am trying to convince him to make film here!”


Tim Burton’s take on traditional Hindu narratives? The possibilities are endless!  Oompa-loompa-esque monkey armies. Ravana’s ten serpentine heads bursting out of the screen in 3-D. Danny Elfman and A.R. Rahman collaborating on a score. And, of course, Johnny Depp as Lord Rama.

Hey, while we’re at it– how about a live-action/animated hybrid with Kapur & Burton teaming up with PIXAR (a la Sanjay Patel’s Ramayana: Divine Loophole)?

ramayana_divineloophole_cover.jpgNow, that’s worth some serious day-dreaming about.

  • Dharmashaiva

    Johnny Depp’s a great actor, but Rama might be a bit out of his league.

  • Amidha

    Ramayan is one of my most-loved holy books of all time. I’m not entirely sure of how I feel about Tim Burton, but if this is a possibility, I’d better take a closer look. If he blows it, he’s in big trouble with me!

  • Your NameDavid Makinster

    What a wonderful daydream! Perhaps it will come true? In the meantime, Nina Paley’s “Sita Sings the Blues” sets the bar pretty high for a magical, contemporary, ingenious and original retelling of the story. The whole movie is downloadable for free, and I encourage all to see it!

  • Ilene

    As soon as I saw this announcement that Ramayana might be produced by Tim Burton or ? I have become almost moved with tears of joy. As long as whoever takes this glorious and holy task remains true to the Spirit of Hinduism–respects its ancient and precious integrity (ok, it’s not perfect. Nothing is perfect except Perfection and I won’t even assume to know what that is), and gives us, the viewers the gift of the true myth (!) of Ramayana, then we will be blessed, and deeply grateful.

  • Ilene

    Who would be good for embodying the multi-faceted spirt/character of Rama? I agree. This sacred character may be too tame (though there is nothing tame about the true myth (!) ) for Depp. Definitely, I would NOT give it to Brad Pitt! He’s still Achilles-like in my mind. So, who could “be” Rama? Orlando Bloom. He’d have some work to do, but the actor could sure use a big role to “be” and Ramayana could just do it for him. And because I just think he is under-appreciated in the motion picture business, so it’s time for Paris to go up to a higher more holy level as Rama. Anyone else? I haven’t a clue.

  • vidyuth chandra patange

    It is indeed a wonderful great news for all traditional and spiritutual indian hindu peoples, its will be like dream come true to all movie watcher also..
    Kapur desire to convince Tim Burton to make this film in India is highly appriciable, as ramayana -epic is soul and heart of indian hindu culture , that will add special touch.

  • ravi v

    que sera sera!

  • David Makinster

    If Burton does make the film (admittedly, a big IF), it would be gutsy for him to cast Hrithik Roshan as Rama. I’d like him better than any of the western actors mentioned, and the US is (at last!) starting to warm up to the world of Indian film.

  • Vineet Chander

    Hey All,
    Thanks for the great comments. I agree — especially after re-watching “Jodha Akbar” — that Hrthik Roshan may be a good candidate. I am, however, still partial to Johnny Depp. :-)
    On a more serious note, @Amidha: I share your concerns. At the same time I wonder– in being vigilant and trying to make sure that Burton doesn’t “blow it”, are we setting up a double standard? Would we be so critical and ready-to-pounce if a Bollywood director were considering taking on such a project? There have been some fantastic Ramayana and Mahabharata adaptations in Indian cinema, but there have also been some horrid ones. Shouldn’t they be held to the same standard?
    And here’s something to mull over: if Tim Burton (or another Holyywood big-wig) does an interpretation of the Ramayana, and it takes some creative licenses or departs from scripture, does the good it does in raising interest in the original outweigh the bad? Or do we want him to stay away entirely if he’s not going to “do it right”?
    Would love to hear some thoughts on this.
    – Vineet

  • Sourav Roy

    After some exhaustive research, I have reached to a conclusion that versions of Ramayana exists in many languages, including Annamese, Balinese, Bengali, Cambodian, Chinese, Gujarati, Javanese, Kannada, Kashmiri, Khotanese, Laotian, Malaysian, Marathi, Oriya, Prakrit, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sinhalese, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan, etc. In Sanskrit itself there are 25 different versions. According to A. K. Ramanujam, more than 300 tellings of Ramayana exist.
    Each has newer dimensions, more fascinating than the other.
    Read them in reverse order here-

  • let the daydreaming commence!

    to borrow a quote/sentiment from another beliefnetist-er
    “let the light within shine
    let the ight within shine
    namaste a
    namaste a”

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