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Ashutosh Gowariker's Buddha Goes Global

Apart from bringing in an acclaimed cinematographer, Ashutosh Gowariker has brought on board many other renowned names and international crew for his biopic on Prince Siddharth and his journey to enlightenment.

entertainment Updated: May 24, 2010 16:07 IST
Hiren Kotwani
Hiren Kotwani
Hindustan Times

If the kind of team Ashutosh Gowariker is collaborating with on his next period epic, Buddha, is any indication, looks like he’s not sparing anything to ensure that it turns out to be a world-class product.

Apart from bringing in acclaimed cinematographer, Ashutosh Gowariker (Independence Day, The Jackal, Maid in Manhattan, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian), the filmmaker has brought on board many other renowned names. Joining them as co-producer and line producer is Dileep Singh Rathore who has two decades of experience, having handled movies like the City of Joy, Blood Diamond and Peter Weir’s forthcoming film, The Way Back. April Ferry, who has been nominated at the Oscars, BAFTA and Emmy awards and has designed for films like Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines, Maverick and Free Willy, will be creating the costumes.

Iconic character
Produced by Dr Bhupendra Kumar Modi, the movie focuses on the life of Prince Siddharth and his journey to becoming Buddha, bringing to life one of the most iconic characters in Indian history. Sharing Modi’s vision for Buddha as “a truly global film that required a team with global sensibilities that can transcend language barriers,” Gowariker’s list just does not end.

David S Ward, who won the Oscar for Best Screenplay for the Robert Redford-Paul Newman movie, The Sting, and an Academy nomination for Sleepless In Seattle, has been signed on as the writer. And joining him as the storyboard artist is David Russel, who has blockbusters like Star Wars, X-Men Wolverine, Batman, Terminator II, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Romeo & Juliet and Moulin Rouge to his credit.

Gowariker, who has already begun pre-production for the movie says, “The first important decision that Dr Modi took was to make Buddha in English. And that got me immediately interested because I have always felt that when it comes to religion, you must cater to an international audience, especially so in the case of Buddha.”

Learning experience
The filmmaker, who’s doing pre-visualisation for the first time in his career, is excited at the prospect of collaborating with Jarrod Linton. “It has been an amazing learning experience working with Jarrod, who has been the pre-viz supervisor for films like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Da Vinci Code, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Troy and X-MenWolverine among others,” enthuses Gowariker.

Nitin Desai, the National Award winning art director, who has worked with Gowariker on all his movies since Lagaan (2001), has already been confirmed as the production designer. Considering that it’s going to be a big budget movie, Michael Shane, who has been involved in movies like I, Robot and Catch Me If You Can, has been signed on as the executive producer.

Buddha will also have a good dose of action, and Glenn Boswell, who has worked on movies like The Thin Red Line, Crocodile Dundee Max Mad and the Matrix trilogy, will choreograph the stunts.Teaming with him has been an “exhilarating” experience for Gowariker who, in his own words, “feels privileged” to be working with him, for his magnum opus.

Meanwhile, his search for an actor to play Prince Siddharth still continues. “I’m still auditioning hundreds of people; we are getting closer to our Buddha,” he concluded.

First Published: May 24, 2010 12:21 IST