The magic of mythological epic "Ramayan" is set to be recreated on Zee TV, and the new version promises to be a state-of-art affair with latest technology and simplified dialogues to create a youth connect.
"Our 'Ramayan' is based on Ramcharitmanas, which is rich in core values, ideals and principles that form the crux of our society and are the core of our upbringing," Ajay Bhalwankar, head-content, Hindi GECs at Zee, told IANS.
Bhalwankar maintains the story will remain the same. But viewers will be treated to a new presentation.
"There no change in the story, but the presentation is different. If we try to tell the story in a different way, we would fail as the core of Ramayan cannot be changed," he said.
"(However), there is a sea of change in the use of technology and graphics. The scale is going to be really huge and state-of-the-art this time. We have shot in HD," he added, without revealing the show's budget.
The show is being produced by Moti Sagar of Sagar Arts.
The original, 1980s' small-screen version of "Ramayan" was produced and directed by Moti's father Ramanand Sagar. It was a hit, and still remains etched in many minds.
Another version of it was created for Imagine TV with actor Gurmeet Choudhry playing Ram, in 2008. That was produced by Sagar Arts too.
Asked how different would the third version be, Ramanand's granddaughter Meenakshi Sagar told IANS: "The language has been simplified so that today's generation is able to understand it and learn from it."
"The story will be similar to what my grandfather Ramanand Sagarji had shown. Nothing new can be included in the story, but the presentation will definitely be different. The technology is much better today and we have worked on lot on detailings of the characters," she added.
Actor Rishabh Shukla has been roped in for the role of King Dashratha, Shikha Swaroop of "Chandrakanta" fame will portray Kaikeyee and Neil Bhatt of "12/24 Karol Bagh" fame will be seen in Lakshman's role.
The identity of other characters, including protagonists Ram and Sita have been kept under wraps for now. The show will go on air Aug 12.
"We have spent a lot of time deciding on the casting of the show. We were never looking for larger than life personalities. I won't say they are new faces, but they are good actors," said Bhalwankar, adding that there's a special reason behind concealing the identity of Ram and Sita.
"When Doordarshan's 'Ramayan' came, media was not very active at that time. So, when people saw Arun Govil, they saw him as Ram and not Arun Govil. His real identity came out quite later," he said.
"We are not revealing the names because we want people to see them as Ram and Sita, not as actors XYZ," he added.
Bhalwankar doesn't fear comparisons with earlier versions of "Ramayan".
"There will be more comparisons with the earlier 'Ramayan' than comparisons with Imagine's 'Ramayan'. We don't fear it because their (Imagine's) grammar and framework was different. It was more of a family drama and our approach is different," he added.