Indian telecoms mogul to finance film on life of Buddha

M&C Movies, May 23, 2006

Cannes, France -- Indian telecommunications mogul Bhupendra Kumar Modi will finance an epic film on the life of Buddha, the film trade daily Hollywood Reporter said Tuesday.

The English-language movie will cost 120 million dollars (154 million euros) to produce, making it one of the most expensive films ever shot in India, the magazine reported in its special Cannes film festival edition.

The movie is to be based on the best-selling book Old Path White Clouds, by the renowned Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

'I've wanted to do this film for several years now,' said Modi. 'I discovered the book two years ago and it changed my life, and I felt it was up to me to share my happiness with the world.'

This will be the first film-making venture for Modi, who owns an eight-screen multiplex theatre in northern India.

'The life of Buddha is intriguing and an amazing story that needs to be told,' said one of the film's producers, Michel Shane, who also co-produced the Will Smith thriller I, Robot. 'We are looking at this as an epic film for the ages - a Lawrence of Arabia meets Gladiator.'

Modi said he was hoping that the film would be chosen to open the 2008 Cannes film festival, playing the same role as The Da Vinci Code did for this year's festival.