producer plans $120m Buddha biopic
Visiting Indian telecom
tycoon Dr Bhupendra Kumar Modi has announced plans to make a US$120 million
movie on the life of the Buddha based on a best-selling book by renowned
Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh.
Modi, talking to the Viet
Nam Buddhist Sangha Congregation’s Giac Ngo newspaper in HCM City
during his trip around the country with Hanh, said the film would be made by
Buddha Films, a subsidiary of his Mcorp Global, in co-operation with Hollywood.
"It will be shot in
many countries, including the US, Japan, China, Thailand.
"The casting for the
film will begin soon, with producers currently considering a short list of
A-List stars for the lead roles."
The film would be made in
English but he hoped it would be translated into more than 100 languages later
so that Vietnamese people could see it.
Modi had been nurturing a
dream of making a film on the Buddha for 20 years but it only took shape after
he had read Old Path, White Clouds (Duong Xua May Trang) written by Hanh.
"…Hanh has allowed
me to use his book without any copyright payment. But he stipulated that the
actors who play the lead roles must undergo at least three-month [worth of] deep
meditation courses," he said.
Hanh explained that he
wanted the actors to appear meditative and contemplative.
Moli said the film would
have three parts: the first on the Buddha’s birth and early days, the second
about his spiritual quest, and the third about how he attained nirvana, or
emancipation. "It will be one of the most expensive films made in
Old Path, White Clouds is
a best-seller across Asia with over 2 million copies sold to date. It has been
printed in many countries including the US, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Japan,
Australia, China, Viet Nam, and India.
The book brings to life
the story of the Buddha in a beautiful and vibrant style. It traces the Buddha’s
life slowly and gently through the eyes of Svasti, a buffalo boy who provided
kusa grass for the Buddha to use as a cushion as he meditated, and through the
eyes of the Buddha himself. —VNS