"Frankly, it is a very difficult casting which I have in hand here", says Ashutosh Gowariker who would be attempting a film with a religious base to it for the first time ever, "I have seen so many actors worldwide but still haven't found the right face to play the part. It is so difficult because this actor has to be convincing as someone, who goes through a complete turnaround in his life. I have to go ahead in a zero-compromise mode here."
Another strong reason behind casting a correct face and physical appearance is the fact that Buddha is being pitched for an international market. This means that the actor, whether new or established, is required to have a pan-universal appeal.
"While this is truly a major reason, I also feel that the team of Buddha has a responsibility to take care of for several other nations as well", continues Gowariker, "There are millions in this world who practice Buddhism; whether it is Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese and others. When they see our film, they should be able to relate to the actor and say that this is their Buddha. I should be accurate enough in my presentation so that there is a sense of reverence that comes in for a world-known personality like Buddha."
All of this means that while the search continues for the right face and personality, Ashutosh Gowariker may well move to some other film in the interim. His Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se is up for release and post that, it would be time for Gowariker to zero on another subject and begin work on it.
"Frankly, I haven't closed on anything as of now", he brings on a smile here, "All that is occupying my mind currently is Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se. There are just a few more weeks to go and we are going full steam ahead in pumping up the promotion further and bringing the film to the audience."
A period thriller, this Abhishek Bachchan-Deepika Padukone starrer is based on the book 'DO and DIE: The Chittagong Uprising 1930-34' by Manini Chatterjee. Also starring Sikandar Kher and Vishakha Singh, Khelein Hum... has music by Sohail Sen and releases all over on 3rd December.
The biggest ever project devised by Ashutosh Gowariker, Buddha, continues to be on hold. The filmmaker, who is known for films that are set on a huge canvas while boasting of an opulent treatment, has decided that he won't progress on the film till he finds the perfect actor to play the part of Buddha.