Friday, October 06, 2006

Coming (in 2008) to a Theater Near You: the Buddha

As reported by the Indo-Asian News Service; October 5, 2006

Bhupendra Kumar Modi organised a special luncheon party in Los Angeles to seek the blessings of the Dalai Lama before launching his $120 million epic feature film "Buddha" to be directed by Shekhar Kapur.

"From the Buddha's life story . . . maybe you will get inspiration. Our intention is not the propagation of Buddhism, but helping the world," said the Dalai Lama, who was the guest of honour at the luncheon.

The Tibetan spiritual leader said cinema was an effective medium for sharing the universal message of inter-dependence and inter-connectedness, according to a press statement.

Hollywood luminaries Sharon Stone, Goldie Hawn, Laurence Fishburne, Robert Downey Jr, Chris McGurk, and Carol Mendelsohn also graced the occasion at the Peninsula Hotel, Beverley Hills.

The English film, which will be made under the banner of Modi's M Films, is a screen adaptation of Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh's book "Old Path White Clouds".

It is to focus on the life and teachings of the Buddha.

Hanh, who was present at the luncheon, said his book was a "manual for the practice of peace".

Said Modi: "We intend 'Buddha' to be a major film across the globe. We're confident this will be every bit the exciting epic Hollywood film we envisioned from the start."

"Buddha" will be shot in the US, Japan, China, Thailand and India."It will make history as the most expensive film ever to be shot in India.

Casting for the film will begin immediately and the producers are currently considering A-List stars for the lead roles.

Principal photography is slated to begin in 2007 and the film should be ready for worldwide release in 2008," said Modi.

M Films has also roped in Hollywood Producer Michel Shane, executive producer of Hollywood blockbusters like "I Robot" and "Catch Me If You Can" for the film.