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Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Studios, Riteish Deshmukh Set Shivaji Biopic

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Its raining biopics of revered 17th century Indian ruler Shivaji Bhonsle in Mumbai.

Days after Sandeep Singh’s “The Pride of Bharat – Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj” was announced, billionaire Mukesh Ambani‘s Jio Studios and actors Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh’s Mumbai Film Company have unveiled their collaboration on “Raja Shivaji.” Both films were revealed on the occasion of the 394th birth anniversary of Shivaji, Feb. 19. Shivaji (1630-1680) founded the Maratha empire when most of India was under Mughal rule, winning his territories using a mixture of military moves and strategic nous. 

“Raja Shivaji,” a bilingual in the Marathi and Hindi languages, will trace the journey of the young Shivaji, who fought against the powers that be and was crowned as Chhatrapati (monarch). Riteish Deshmukh will direct and play the title role. Deshmukh debuted as a director and also starred in 2022 blockbuster “Ved.” The cinematography is by Santosh Sivan (2023 Rotterdam title “Moha”) and the music by the Ajay -Atul duo (“Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior”).

The big-budget film is being produced by Jyoti Deshpande, who serves as president, media and entertainment at Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited, and Genelia Deshmukh.

Deshpande said, “At Jio Studios, we are committed to pushing the boundaries of storytelling and bringing diverse narratives to audiences worldwide. ‘Raja Shivaji’ embodies this vision, it’s not just a regional tale, it’s a culturally rooted narrative designed to transcend languages and regions and we are very proud to associate with Riteish and Genelia in bringing the story of one of India’s greatest sons of the soil to life through this magnificent project”.

Genelia Deshmukh added: “We embark on a noble quest, not merely to produce a film, but to weave a narrative thread that enriches the tapestry of our culture and history. ‘Raja Shivaji’ is our biggest dream, and we couldn’t have found a better partner than Jyoti Deshpande and Jio Studios, who have the legacy of doing the unthinkable.”

Riteish Deshmukh said: “In the annals of history, there emerges a figure who transcends mere mortal existence – a legend, an icon, an eternal flame of inspiration. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is not a mere historical figure; he is an emotion, a timeless saga of valor, and a beacon of hope that has illuminated hearts for over three and a half centuries. Our deepest aspiration has always been to immortalize his awe-inspiring journey on the grand canvas of cinema – a journey of epic proportions, depicting the rise of a boy who defied the invincible, sparking the flames of Swarajya [a term meaning self-rule coined by Shivaji while he fought the Mughals0. A rebel whose courage knew no bounds, he didn’t just rule land, he conquered hearts, earning the endearing title of ‘Raja Shivaji.’”

Sivan added: “‘Raja Shivaji’ is not just a film; it’s a culmination of passion, dedication, and years of meticulous research and scripting by Ritesh Deshmukh. Having been invited years ago to photograph this journey, witnessing its materialization is a testament to the power of vision and perseverance in the world of cinema.”

Ajay-Atul said: “The resonating sound of the trumpet, now commonplace in every event and ceremony, once heralded the grand arrival and depicted the valour of our brave king. Playing the trumpet for that very king in “Raja Shivaji” evokes an overwhelming feeling, a profound sense of pride. Such compositions often demand patience and with ‘Raja Shivaji,’ we believe this is the opportune moment, a golden opportunity.”

Production is due to commence imminently.

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