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    Feb 2010


    Default Zee TV's The Buddha is to appeal to people of all religions

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    My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness- Tenzin Gyatso (the 14th Dalai Lama).

    India is a secular nation which is the birth place of many religions and faiths. One of these many religions is Buddhism, the founder of which is Gautam Buddha. Buddhism which is a religion of simplicity and kindness has now spread globally. We are happy that Zee TV is to air a biopic on Lord Buddha.

    At the press conference of The Buddha, B. K. Modi, Global Chairman of Spice Global who is also the Producer of the show and the extremely talented and well known TV writer Gajra Kottary who is the story writer of the show, talked to us at length on this upcoming series.

    This target audience of this show is everyone- both Buddhists and non-Buddhists. Bharat Ranga, Chief Content and Creative Officer of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd explained, “We believe that in this fast paced world of megabytes in India as well as all over the world there is a lot of conflict. Which is why through the show, we are spreading the word of the Buddha and presenting the transition from Siddhartha to the Buddha. His teachings will spiritually guide the public. We are trying to change the life of many people in the whole world through this serial.”

    We feel in an age where we just have romantic soaps, campus tales, crime series and reality shows for the youth; this show should be watched by the youth with interest as it will help them to bring about a sense of peace and calm in their lives. B. K. Modi informed us that The Buddha is for people of all ages, especially the youth. He said, “We are very fortunate that the Buddha spread the message of equality, non-violence, humanity and brought a new philosophy to the whole world. The Buddha is a person whose life itself should be unfolded in front of the global youth. We want to impart the message that the answers to many problems of the world can be found in his teachings. With the help of Zee TV, we will take the message of Buddhism to various parts of the world in various languages. We wish to revive Buddhist philosophy to bring peace in this world.”

    He added that intensive research of three decades has gone into the making of this biopic. “For more than thirty years I have tried to make this biopic as a film in both India and countries abroad. I am glad that we are ending up making this as a serial in India as the Buddha started to preach from this nation. If it would be a two hour film, I would not have done justice to the Buddha’s life, characterisation and teachings. Our research material is vast, starting from the manuscripts at the University of Nalanda to the numerous books on the life of the Buddha. We have researchers right from Robert Bolt who wrote Dr. Zhivago to B. R. Ambedkar to Thích Nhất Hạnh (Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist) and many historians. We have consulted the Buddhist Universities too.”

    In the current times, when the child protagonist in historicals and mythologicals don’t grow up for a very long time, we were happy to know that over a span of just one year in 52 one hour long episodes over 52 weeks, the whole life of the Buddha will be told. The Producer remarked, “The series will be fast paced so that it doesn’t get preachy and boring. The Buddha’s teachings are after all practical.”

    Film biopics often don’t follow a linear pattern. They may be a combination of sequences from various phases of the protagonist’s life. As expected as this biopic is for the small screen it will go in the simple linear progression. Gajra explained, “We have vast information on the Buddha’s life. It is important as to which are the more important aspects of his life which are to be highlighted and which incidents need not be highlighted to that extent. So, it is a little confusing for TV viewers especially when you are on air once a week, if you don’t go in linear pattern. If you notice all or most of the shows are linear in progression. That is after all the demand of the medium. People watch television with a different mindset. So it shouldn’t complicate the matter to the extent that if they miss the last episode, they will not understand as to what is really going on to the extent that they feel dethatched from the show. The series may then end up losing its purpose. We have planned the entire series to fit 52 episodes. If we go on to show more episodes we will explore the latter part of the Buddha’s life which is untold compared to the earlier part of his life.”

    B. K. Modi added it is not just Prince Siddhartha who attained Buddhahood. Every mortal human being in this world can do so too. “The Buddha’s life was a journey. He was not born as the Buddha. He attained enlightenment through his hard work and by being mindful in what he did. It isn’t a journey of a person who was considered a God. It is the journey of a human being who attained enlightenment through his own efforts. His message was that if we work hard and put in enough effort we can also attain enlightenment.”

    This biopic has a mammoth budget. B. K. Modi brought to our notice, “As this is a mega serial no stone will be unturned because of the finances.”

    For more updates on this upcoming show, keep following this space.



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