All and sundry have watched Titanic that was based on a real tragedy. But a similar disaster took place in Indian history where the casualty rate was much higher than the ‘Queen of the High Seas’. Unlike Titanic, Bollywood has ignored SS Ramdas till date, but it’s high time one takes notice. Take a look —
It’s been 23 years and Titanic still doesn’t feel dated. The iconic film based on the deadliest disaster in maritime history saw British ship RMS Titanic sink in the North Athletic Ocean in April 1912. From 2,224 passengers on board, an estimated 1,500 lost their lives in the horrific disaster. The directorial genius of James Cameron helped us experience what the unlucky souls went through on that dark, chilly night when the unsinkable sank.
Likewise, a tragedy once took place on the high seas of the coast of Mumbai (then called Bombay). Not many are aware of the disastrous fate of SS Ramdas.
Owned by the Indian Cooperative Steam Navigation Company, SS Ramdas sank on 17 July 1947 near Gull Island while bound from Rewas to Mumbai. Out of the 713 passengers on board, 690 died. That meant a casualty rate of 96 per cent ( for Titanic it was 67 per cent).
Unquestionably, the story of SS Ramdas needs telling. So, what if this Indian maritime disaster is picturised on the silver screen? We’ve created a whole scene for you on how a film about SS Ramdas would look like.
Let’s take a dive in the Bollywood ocean and find out how SS Ramdas – The Untold Story can pan out!
Heads Up! Ramdas – The Other Struggle
- Taking cue from Titanic for the Bollywood counterpart
- The directorial genius to match up to James Cameron
- Who could play Rose and Jack?
- What is the actual reality?
- Not a usual happy ending!
Who better than Sanjay Leela Bhansali? Bhansali is well-renowned for bringing ancient powerful stories from Indian history to the big screen. Padmavat, Bajirao Mastani and his upcoming Gangubai are proof that the director will be a prolific choice.
In Titanic, Rose (Kate Winslet) was engaged to Caledon Hockley (played by Billy Zane) before she falls for Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio). Both come from different social classes which adds to the plot making the love story essential to understanding the politics on board the Titanic. Class and caste depictions will be easy when considering the social structure we have inherited in India.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali doesn’t do copy-paste scripts for his films. So we can be sure that this is where similarities between the iconic Titanic and the hypothetical Ramdas end.
While Bhansali’s first preference would always be his favourite couple Ranveer and Deepika, for Ramdas we think it would be a different pair. Perhaps the hottest on-screen pair of Bollywood in recent time – Shahid Kapoor and Kiara Advani.
Kapoor and Advani recently appeared together in the blockbuster Kabir Singh which became the highest-grossing film of 2019. The duo would make a great on-screen couple in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ramdas aka Bollywood-version of the Titanic.
SS Ramdas’s captain — Sheikh Suleman Ibrahim, who later provided the facts of the incident, is alleged to have sunk the ship as the partition sparked riots in Northern India. That’s where the story of Ramdas would begin.
Kiara Advani falls in love with a lower-caste orphan in Shahid Kapoor. But just like every love story obstacles will keep them apart for a while. Kiara Advani’s character would be engaged to a well-to-do boy from her caste (we think Padmavat’s Jim Sarbh will be a great fit). However, its arranged and she’s already given her heart to Shahid. Soon they elope from Rewas decide to run away to Bombay on board Ramdas.
The Painting scene — Sorry! Unfortunately, it’s unlikely and there are two reasons. Firstly, disaster struck rather early in the voyage for Ramdas. Bollywood needs to align itself with the conservative Censor Board.
While passing the Island of Kashyacha Khadak (Gull Island), Ramdas was caught in a violent storm and consequently sunk on the high seas.
In Bhansali’s Ramdas, a similar end might see one of Shahid and Kiara make the ultimate sacrifice to save the other from sinking to death. Later on, if its Kiara who stays alive, may join the missionaries and become a nun. Shahid would become a pious spiritual guru.
The lover left, irked by the caste system that caused them to elope, would denounce the religion and probably become one of the first atheists of free India.
One thing certain, the one alive would be the one narrating the story in flashback after the wreck of SS Ramdas surfaces on Bombay’s coast in 1957.