Richard Gere in Shekhar Kapur's Buddha film, March 28, 2005

Mumbai, India -- Shekhar Kapur hopes to rope in Hollywood biggies Richard Gere, Sharon Stone and Goldie Hawn for his Rs 500 crore film on Buddha. The yet-untitled film is scheduled for a 2006 release.

According to the president of the Mahabodhi Society of India, Dr Bhupendra Kumar Modi, the script is nearing completion at Dharamshala, abode of the Dalai Lama, as Kapur wanted to back his project with 'authentic and in-depth research.'

"The film, co-produced by MCorpGlobal, aims to be an honest and authentic portrayal of the life of the Buddha through his childhood as Siddhartha, as a monk and as Tathagat after he attained enlightenment," Modi said.

The movie, he added, would not ruffle any feathers in the Buddhist community; Kapur's earlier ventures like Bandit Queen and Elizabeth have courted controversy.

The film, which has been given a formal approval by the Dalai Lama, would uphold the Buddha's message of equality and peace.

The script for the over two-hour long film is being readied by Buddhist scholar Dr Deepak Chopra, American writer Melissa Mathison and Kapur himself.

While Modi's firm will chip in with $10 million, and the rest will come from other sources. Negotiations are on with Sony for global distribution rights.
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