Pretty woman Julia Roberts’ fascination with India doesn’t seem to end. So much so, that the Oscar-award winning actor is now planning to buy a house here – becoming perhaps the first Hollywood celebrity to do so.
“I can see something like that (buying a house here) happening in the future. I would love to live near Haridwar or Varanasi, since they are such holy spots for Hinduism. I’ve heard land prices are astronomical there, though,” says the 44-year-old, who converted to Hinduism in 2009 while shooting for her movie Eat, Pray, Love, in India.
A regular visitor here with her husband and three children – twins Hazel and Phinnaeus, and Henry, Roberts had also told us in an interview last year that her daughter Hazel wants to live in India when she grows up. Her plans to buy property seem to be a step towards that. So, when is she coming for her big buy? “I wish I could give a concrete answer to that, since I really enjoyed my first visit here. But, unfortunately, given my line of work, I can’t promise anything. However, whenever I come to India, I’ll bring my kids along.” And is she teaching her kids about Indian culture? “Right now, they’re too young to grasp the nuances of culture and religion. However, as they grow up, I’d like them to be knowledgeable and respectful towards all cultures. I’ll make sure they know about India.”
Roberts has a lot more to learn herself. “My Hindi is terrible! The only things I can manage are basic greetings like ‘Namaste’.” That, though, doesn’t stop her from loving Bollywood. “I’m fascinated by Bollywood ... I don’t know much about it, but I’d love to give it a try,” she says.
Julia will be next seen in Mirror Mirror, based on the story of Snow White. It has been directed by Hollywood filmmaker of Indian origin, Tarsem Singh. “I am such a fan of Tarsem. He is a lovable genius. We did talk about India a lot (during the shoots). He was in Varanasi shooting for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and since I’m fascinated by that place, he told me lots about it,” she says.
The film hits Indian screens on Friday.
, california (price: Rs 20.62cr)
Valued at approx $40 million, the mansion includes a private beach, a gigantic pool and a sea view. She spent over $15mn on its renovation.
(price: Rs 1.6cr)
Her 50-acre ranch in Taos, New Mexico is the place where she wed Danny Moder in 2002. It costs over $3 mn.
, New york (price: Rs 5cr)
Roberts has been buying multiple units of property in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park since her first $2.15mn purchase in 1993.
Haridwar or Varanasi?
Roberts plans to buy a house in Varanasi or Hardwar. Even though Uttarakhand and UP laws don’t allow foreigners to buy property in the states, she may have to shell out approx Rs 5 crore, even to buy a bungalow in someone else’s name, say property agents in the area.
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