Ben Kingsley to Play Another Famous Indian Luminary in Taj
Back in 1982, Ben Kingsley gave a world renowned Oscar winning performance playing Gandhi in Richard Attenborough's Gandhi. He's never played him again, and probably never will, leaving that performance to live on forever. However, according to The Guardian, Kingsley is now attached to play another "instrumental figure in Indian history" as Shah Jahan, the man who built the Taj Mahal back in the 1600s. SBK Pictures, Kingsley's company, made the announcement recently and confirmed that Kingsley would be producing as well. Taj, as the project will be titled, will have a $25 to $30 million budget (which is pretty big for India).
"With my passion for India and the Taj Mahal now becoming one of the seven wonders of the World, I am compelled to ask 'why' and 'how' this scream of grief frozen in marble came into being," Kingsley said in the statement. "It is an indelible monument to passion and love. How did the building evolve in the first place, that is the question we're looking at."
The screenplay for Taj was written by British playwright and novelist David Ashton. Shooting is supposed to start next fall, however they don't have a director yet. SBK will be meeting with Indian investors next month to secure financing. In addition to Kinglsey, Taj will star Indian superstar and Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Mumtaz Mahal, Jahan's "favored wife" and the woman whose death in childbirth inspired the construction of the Taj Mahal between 1632 and 1654. Kingsley's wife, Brazilian actor Daniela Lavender, will also play Persian princess Kandahari Begum, Jahan's first wife. We'll keep you updated on this project.