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Shekhar Kapur may direct film on Buddha


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The Dalai Lama, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur and new age guru Deepak Chopra may come together soon for a film on the Buddha.

India's largest Buddhist group, the Mahabodhi Society of India, is commissioning the film and is in talks with Kapur to direct the $50 million venture that could hit the screens globally by end-2005.

According to the society's newly elected president, Bhupendra Kumar Modi, the project has the blessings of the Dalai Lama, who has also apparently provided his views on the script.

"It was a personal dream of mine to make a film on the Buddha," said Modi, a well-known industrialist who is pitching in with $10 million for the yet-to-be-named project.

Modi said he and Kapur met the Dalai Lama early this month in Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile. The two also met important aides of the Dalai Lama.

"The Dalai Lama provided his suggestions for the script. He also wrote to his famous disciples in Hollywood to help our project," Modi said.

The Dalai Lama has famous disciples like Richard Gere, Goldie Hawn, Sharon Stone and Melissa Mathison.

Modi said filming could begin early next year and the project would be ready by end-2005. "The film's release could be coincided with the 2,550th birthday celebrations of the Buddha," he said.

"We have just started talking about it and it's too early to talk about the film," Kapur was quoted as saying.

Modi said it was Kapur who had approached him first to make a film on the Buddha.

Spiritual self-help guru Deepak Chopra is assisting with the script. Modi is trying to rope in Sony for worldwide distribution of the film that is to be extensively shot in India.


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