ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday April 13, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 46

Lanka gets plum role in Buddha biopic

By Isuri Kaviratne

The story of the Buddha, as described in ancient chronicles, will be translated to the big screen in an epic movie to be filmed largely in Sri Lanka. International involvement is expected in the ambitious cinema project. Buddha Charitha, or The Life Story of the Buddha, to be made at an estimated cost of US$20 million, will be jointly produced by two companies, Radiance Films International, a subsidiary of the Light of Asia Foundation of Sri Lanka, and Beyond Dreams Entertainment Limited of India.

The film will be directed by award-winning Indian director Shyam Benegal. The producers have already briefed President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the background to the making of the film. The production agreement was signed at the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya in June last year in the presence of the Minister of Cultural Affairs Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and senior officials of the National Film Corporation of Sri Lanka.

Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera, chancellor of the University of Sri Jayawardenapura, has been appointed chief script consultant. The final draft of the screenplay will be entrusted to Indian scriptwriter Athul Thiwari.

Prof. Nimal de Silva said the film will trace the life of the Buddha, starting with his early days as Prince Siddhartha and accompanying him on his spiritual journey, from his preaching of the Four Noble Truths, or Chaturarya Satya, to his Enlightenment. Initial shooting will begin in Sri Lanka early next year.

“Sri Lanka has such scenic diversity that the director should have no problems finding suitable locations here,” project co-ordinator Daham Dininduhewa told The Sunday Times. “We are hoping this film will give a big boost to the Sri Lanka film industry,” he said.

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