After Kangana Ranaut and Irrfan Khan starrer ‘Divine Lovers’ becoming country’s first Indo-French production reports are pouring that French producer Manuel Collas De La Roche, has announced yet another Indo-French collaboration, ASHOKA, on the life of King Asoka, the third monarch of the Indian Mauryan dynasty, who is regarded as one of the most exemplary rulers in world history.
According to initial reports French producer Manuel Collas De La Roche has roped in eminent Bollywood film director Rajkumar Santoshi to direct the film and has approached Ajay Devgn to play the title role. As regards the heroine Hollywood ace actress Jennifer Lopez is in pipeline.
Director Rajkumar Santoshi, who has made exceptionally great movies like GHAYAL, DAMINI, ANDAZ APNA APNA etc while confirming the reports said, “Yes, that’s happening, but there are other films before it that I am working on.”
Asked about the heroine Rajkumar Santoshi told, “Till now we have just finalized Ajay Devgan, who will portray the great king. Regarding the heroine and the supporting cast we are in the process. The movie will have actors from Bollywood,Hollywood and French Cinema.” He added, “Manuel Collas De La Roche is the producerand it is an Indo –French collaboration.”
Briefing media about his interest in making a movie on great Indian ruler, French film producer Manuel said, “I am a Buddhist and I come to India often on a spiritual quest. My astrologer, Nitin Manchanda, suggested I make a film and I liked the idea. Rajkumar (Santoshi) is a fabulous person and director, so we are working together. I have other films in the pipeline too. ”
Interestingly Manuel Collas De La Roche, is the same French producer who earlier had expressed his desire to make a film on Dalai Lama and had planned to cast Amitabh Bachchan and his actor-son Abhishek Bachchan to play two Dalai Lamas in a fictional account on the Dalai Lama ancestry. The film was supposed to look at the lives of all the Dalai Lamas, and the philosophy espoused by them.
Readers may recall Shah Rukh had burnt hands when he made when he made the magnum opus ASHOKA (2001) with Kareen Kapoor and had Santosh Sivan directing his ambitious project but the film bombed at the box office. One wonders what the fate of this movie will be?