Aishwarya offered Yashodhara's role in "Buddha"

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Indo-Asian News Service

Mumbai, March 2 (IANS) Aishwarya Rai has been offered the role of Yashodhara, wife of prince Siddhartha, in an English-Hindi bilingual film called "Buddha" being made by a Paris-based Indian filmmaker.

The star, whose portrayal of Jodha in Ashutosh Gowariker's epic romance "Jodhaa Akbar was well-received, has been offered the role by director of spiritual and crossover films Pan Nalin of "Samsara" fame.

Prince Siddhartha renounced the world, became a monk, attained nirvana and was known the world over as Gautama Buddha.

Nalin, who was in Mumbai recently for the DVD launch of "Samsara", told IANS that he met Aishwarya a few times and discussed the movie's script with her.

India-born Nalin made waves internationally with his Buddhist crossover film "Samsara", which had mixed cast comprising Ladhaki, Indian, American and Chinese actors. He followed it up with another crossover movie, "The Valley of Flowers."

Nalin has penned the script in collaboration with Hollywood-based scriptwriter Tinker Lindsay.

"Aishwarya has not yet said anything. But I am hopeful that she will agree to it. It is scheduled to go on the floor in August this year," Nalin said.

A self-taught filmmaker, Nalin's debut film "Samsara" won 30 international awards.

Bollywood star Sushmita Sen, who graced the DVD launch ceremony, encapsulated the theme of "Samsara" saying it was about a person's choice between desire and satisfaction, between inner urge and outside yearnings.

The movie tells the story of a monk, who leaves his monastery in Ladakh after meditating for years to experience the pleasures of matrimony and returns to his cloister after undergoing the trials and tribulations of a commoner's life.

But unlike elsewhere in the world, "Samsara" came a cropper at the box-office in India when Sony released it in 2006.

Nalin claimed that the movie could not generate revenue in India because Sony managed to run it only for three weeks.

"When the box-office collections were picking up, the film had to be withdrawn from theatres as they were booked for other movies in the queue," he said.

"Samsara" grossed over Rs.1 billion worldwide and did good business in Europe. Shemaroo has launched the movie on DVD in India.

"As part of our company's policy, we are now taking the initiative to support good cinema and independent filmmakers, making their productions available on home video," said Shemaroo director Hiren Gada.

He said Shemaroo was aware that DVDs of films like "Samsara" might not sell like those of commercial movies.

"But there is a clientele for good, sensible movies. We will be more than pleased if the DVDs of "Samsara" do business worth Rs.2.5 million," Gada said.

Though the movie has been made in Tibetan-Ladakhi language with sub-tiles in English, by virtue of its theme and cinematic brilliance, it was highly acclaimed worldwide when it was released internationally in 2001.

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