by ARYEMAN RAJ
“Believing in Yourself is Not a Religion … It’s a Way of Life!” If a man who walked the earth in the year 500 BCE had the vision to say something that remains so relevant in the year 2013, it is no wonder, then, that he is counted amongst the most important personalities to have been born in the recorded history of India – Buddha!
We have all read about Buddha at one point or the other. Yet, so much remains to be explored about this powerful, magnetic thought leader who woke up to the ‘Ultimate Truth’ under the Bodhi Tree. For instance, did you know that it was Prince Siddharth who pioneered elephant warfare in his time? Do any of us even know what he was like, as a child? What were the influences that shaped his thinking as a youth? We know the leader and his school of thought, but little do we know about the beautiful person within.
Presenting Siddhartha’s illustrious journey of being born in the lap of luxury as a prince to his growing years to denouncing his throne and living the life of an ascetic to attaining ‘The Awakening’ is Zee TV’s next historical magnum opus ‘Buddha’ produced by Spice Studios.
Starting 8th September, Sunday mornings will never be the same again as ‘Buddha’ will air at 11 AM on Zee TV. Told in 52 gripping episodes, this series will be an entertaining action drama that showcases the unexplored life of Buddha as Siddharth. The show has an international appeal with its grand scale, opulent sets at the Film City spread over a sprawling 5 acre plot, an impressive cast with renowned names like Kabir Bedi, Samir Dharmadhikari, Nigaar Khan, state-of-the-art 3D graphics used to re-create the look and feel of a bygone era, well-researched costumes bought out of Jodhpur and Jaipur and customized jewellery sourced from Patna that bring alive the majestic lifestyles of the royal family of Kapilavastu.
Mr. Subhash Chandra, Chairman of ZEEL and Essel Group said, “ZEE (Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd) is delighted to partner with Dr B. K. Modi (Spice Studios) to present a new series which is a never-before-seen biopic on television on the life of ‘Buddha’. We have been working with many researchers and experts on the subject. Buddha is shown as one who has great compassion, is completely impartial, and embraces all living beings without discrimination. In today’s fast paced lives, where so much conflict exists in society, Buddha’s teachings are perfectly suited to the challenges man is currently facing. Beyond doubt, each and every faith globally believes that Buddha’s philosophy helps you find your own path to awakening … that Buddha is a spiritual guide who gives everyone the opportunity to enter the path of liberation and enlightenment. Our worldwide network of channels will offer an instant connect to millions of people as the philosophy of Buddha is universal.”
Dr B. K. Modi, Founder & Chairman, Spice group and Producer of “Buddha” said, “Today, youth of the world needs to be empowered and be very confident, fearless and believe in themselves. They are the future of the country and should rise above all the barriers of religions and traditions. And nurture in them qualities of compassion, equality & to create a violence free world”.
Amongst the cast, veteran actor Kabir Bedi will be seen making a comeback to acting after a long hiatus. Kabir has an important role to play in this epic drama. “I am playing a sage who foresees the coming of the Buddha.” says Kabir. Very few people know that the actor has a karmic connection with Buddhism. His mother has spent 15 years as a Buddhist nun in Tibet. Kabir himself has lived a life of a monk for a year in Burma. He feels a deep connection with the role and gave an instant nod when approached for it.
The handsome Samir Dharmadhikari, most remembered for his portrayal of King Gagadhar Rao, the husband of ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’, will play the righteous King Suddhodana, father of Prince Siddhartha. Nigaar Khan will dazzle as always in the negative role of Mangala, the vicious and cunning aunt of Prince Siddhartha. Actors Deepika Upadhyay, Gungun Uprari and Siddhartha Vasudev will play the roles of Queen Mahamaya, Queen Prajapati and Dronadhan respectively.
It is interesting to note that ‘Buddha’ was initially supposed to be made into a film. Spice Studios had begun work on a film based on the same subject with filmmakers Shekhar Kapur and Ashutosh Gowariker helming the research and script development. However, Dr. Modi explains his choice of medium saying, “The scope of television today is larger than films and we wanted Buddha’s story to unfold in all its splendour and reach out to the largest denominator of people possible. Only TV can give us that reach … especially ZEE, with its international reach spanning over 169 countries!”
Starting 8th September, discover new aspects about Prince Siddharth’s journey to enlightenment as the historical drama ‘Buddha’ airs at 11 AM every Sunday, only on Zee TV!