Aishwarya to pair with US star for Bhopal film
Aishwarya Rai will be paired opposite an American star in a film on the Bhopal gas tragedy for which she will also be executive producer.
By Viral Bhayani, IANS
Tentatively titled "Windfall", the film will be produced by Zachary Coffin and is scheduled to begin shooting in 2005.
"I had confirmed Ash for a very long time, but I'm a bit superstitious and thought I would announce this film on the eve of the 20th anniversary of Bhopal gas tragedy, I even asked Ash not to reveal anything about this film to the media then," says producer Zachary in a telephone interview with IANS.
The fiction feature film, a murder mystery inspired by true events, will be set mostly in present-day America, with flashbacks to Bhopal.
The movie is the story of a young woman's search for her father, a plant manager on duty on the night of the disaster in 1984 when tonnes of poisonous gas leaked from a Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, killing 20,000 people over the years.
Aishwarya plays Jasmine Singh, an Indian American born in Bhopal but raised in Beverly Hills. That means she will look and talk like an expatriate - accent et al.
"Aishwarya will be paired opposite an American star as we show her as an adopted girl from the tragedy who is raised in Beverly Hills. The rest of the cast, from both India and America, will be done by January 2005," adds Coffin.
"The story of the disaster in Bhopal is all too tragic," says Aishwarya in an official statement.
"But this film will be inspiring. The story of a young woman's search for her father, the love story with her American fiancÚ and the issues she goes through as a survivor of the disaster - I simply had to be involved.
"And I hope the films' success will draw attention to the need of victims in Bhopal and to those everywhere who've suffered from injustice."
Says Coffin: "This is a heroic role, like Erin Brockovich, but on an epic scale - 'The Insider' meets 'Titanic'.
"Aishwarya was our first, last and only choice to play the lead, and I truly believe this will be the most inspiring performance of hers yet."
The film is to be based on an original, fictional treatment written by the producer, relying in part on the non-fiction book "The Bhopal Tragedy: What Really Happened and What It Means for American Workers and Communities at Risk", by Ward Morehouse and Arun Subramaniam.
Documents released under the US Freedom of Information Action will supplement the book with newly revealed information about who knew what and when.
Principal photography is expected to begin in fall 2005, with approximately two-thirds to be filmed in North America and one-third in India.