Benegal to rope in Hrithik for film on Buddha


MUMBAI: Beyond Dreams Entertainment Limited’s CEO Yash Patnaik and Light of Asia Foundation Chairman, Navin Gooneratne are all set to produce a historic film to be directed by filmmaker Shyam Benegal based on Gautam Buddha. Talks are also on for roping in actor Hrithik Roshan for the film.


“This is a historic moment for South Asian Cinema. We are about to tell the story of a man who was born in Indian subcontinent and redefined the way the world thinks- Gautama Buddha. The impact of his philosophy can be measured by the fact that hundreds of millions of people across the globe have embraced it and made it a way of life. Buddha’s philosophy is more contemporary today than ever before,” stated Patnaik.


After working on the project for almost eight months Beyond Dreams Entertainment Limited, Mumbai and Light of Asia Foundation of Colombo have build a multi-million film project.


Screenplay writer Atul Tiwari has been roped in to write the story, screenplay and dialogue of this epic. Tiwari has written many movies like Bose, the Forgotten Hero, Mission Kashmir etc. Professor Nimal D’Silva, leading Buddhist scholar in the South Asia region has been appointed to head the research along with scholars from China, Japan and Korea.


An Indian delegation headed by Patnaik has already done a location study along with Benegal and Tiwari. During the trip Benegal and Patnaik visited the president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapakshe who gave his support for the project.


“The message of the film Buddha gives answers both to the global crisis of conflict and environment,” said Goonaratne.


Chandran Rutnam, international film maker who has been associated with films like Indiana Jones to Bo Derek’s Tarzen to Bloodsport series is ecstatic about the project. “I have worked with many Hollywood greats from Copala to Spielberg but this project is the closest to my heart. A film on the philosophy of the Lord Buddha’s teachings which in this time of need, in this hour of turmoil could be an excellent vehicle using the medium of cinema to spread the Buddhist philosophy throughout the world. Hollywood has always endeavored to reach to the masses throughout the world, and this is an opportunity to bring an important subject to the world,” he said. 


Gooneratne has already acquired over 1000 acres of land near Colombo where a massive set will be build to recreate the era for the filming of the epic. 


The film is expected to go on floor around mid-2008 and slated for a mid-2009 release.