AISHWARYA RAI TO STAR IN
MAJOR MOTION PICTURE ABOUT BHOPAL
Fiction Feature Film is Epic Thriller Set Against World’s Largest Industrial Disaster
BHOPAL, INDIA & HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA, USA – DECEMBER 2, 2004
International star Aishwarya Rai announced today she will executive produce and star in a major motion picture about the 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal. Tentatively titled “WINDFALL,” film will be produced by Zachary Coffin and is scheduled to begin filming in Fall 2005.
The fiction feature film, a murder mystery inspired by true events, is set mostly in present day America, with flashbacks to Bhopal. Movie is the story of a young woman’s search for her father, a plant manager on duty the night of the disaster. Ms. Rai plays the lead role, Jasmine Singh, an Indian-American debutante born in Bhopal but raised in Beverly Hills.
“The story of the disaster in Bhopal is all too tragic,” said Ms. Rai. “But this film will be inspiring. The story of a young woman’s search for her father, the love story with her American fiancé and the issues she goes through as a survivor of the disaster – I simply had to be involved. And I hope the films’ success will draw attention to the need of victims in Bhopal, and to those everywhere who’ve suffered from injustice.”
“This is a heroic role, like Erin Brockovich, but on an epic scale – THE INSIDER meets TITANIC,” said producer Zachary Coffin. “Aishwarya was our first, last and only choice to play the lead, and I truly believe this will be the most inspiring performance of her career yet.”
The film was announced auspiciously during the 20th anniversary commemoration in Bhopal. “Today, twenty years to the day of the tragedy, this spot may well be the most symbolically significant square mile on the earth,” said Mr. Coffin, speaking from the statue of Bhopal Mother in front of the now abandoned Union Carbide factory. “For, what happened here with Union Carbide is directly connected to what happened in the US with Enron, Tyco and Halliburton, and what is happening in scores of places around the world. Bhopal has become a metaphor for our times. It is the story of the most blatant example of corporate injustice, the most glaring instance of globalization gone awry. It is a story whose time has come.”
Feature film is to be based on an original, fictional treatment written by the producer, relying in part on the non-fiction book The Bhopal Tragedy: What Really Happened and What It Means for American Workers and Communities at Risk, by Ward Morehouse and Arun Subramaniam. Documents recently released under the US Freedom of Information Action will supplement the book with newly revealed information about who knew what when.
“At long last,” commented Ward Morehouse, Co-Author of The Bhopal Tragedy and Co-Founder of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, “this great tragedy will be told as a gripping story of human hope and the search for truth.”
"The truth behind the worst corporate crime in history has remained inaccessible to the world community for much too long," added Satinath Sarangi, Managing Trustee of the Sambhavna Trust. "Now, as the disaster reaches its third decade we are very hopeful that this film can increase international awareness of the continuing disaster in Bhopal."
The 1984 Union Carbide gas leak in Bhopal, India – the “Hiroshima of the chemical industry” – is the largest industrial disaster in history. On the night of December 2, 1984, 40-60 tons of toxic gas escaped the chemical plant and spread to 25 square miles of the city. Over 500,000 people were exposed, 20,000 people died and at least 120,000 remain chronically ill to this day.
“But if you think this film will be depressing,” commented producer Zack Coffin, “I dare say you’ll be surprised. This is a dramatic personal journey set against an historic epic backdrop. It’s true to the spirit of what happened, such that victims and stakeholders feel comfortable, and yet accessible to a global audience – an international epic movie that has it all – murder mystery, romance, grand scale, political manipulation, corporate abuse, high stakes legal battles, backroom deals and a passionate personal quest for the truth.”
Principal photography is expected to begin in Fall 2005, with approximately two-thirds being filmed in North America and one-third in India.
More information about the film can be found at www.BhopalMovie.com.
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ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Recently described by the New York Times as a “a true megawatt international star on the order of Elizabeth Taylor,” Ms. Rai can be seen in her first English-language movie BRIDE AND PREJUDICE, releasing in America on February 11th. The queen of Indian cinema, and former Miss World, she has been named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time magazine. Ms. Rai has agreed to star in CHAOS opposite Meryl Streep and is due to start filming MISTRESS OF SPICES in 2005.
CEO of Zachary Coffin Productions and General Partner of Coffin Capital, Mr. Coffin combines two diverse careers – art and business – to produce this movie on Bhopal. As Global XBRL Leader at KPMG LLP, he was responsible for leading the integration of transparent reporting (XBRL) into the firm’s assurance, audit, tax, corporate finance, and advisory services for clients of every industry worldwide. A subject matter expert on corporate transparency, he has spoken at venues ranging from the Federal Reserve to the World Congress of Accountants. Previous to his eight years in consulting, Mr. Coffin spent seven years in film, media and entertainment, including co-producing radio show GANDHI IN THE PARK for three years in New York. Mr. Coffin graduated with an MFA in Film Production from the University of Southern California, and with a BA, magna cum laude, from Columbia University.
Preferred Contact: info@BhopalMovie.com
Telephone in India (Dec 2004 only): +91-98189-03420
(Hindi-speaking Press: Rachna Dhingra, firstname.lastname@example.org, +91-98261-67369.)
NOTE TO INDIA-BASED PRESS:
Zachary Coffin will be available to answer questions during a press conference on Sunday, 5 December 2004, at Noon, during the India International Film Festival in Goa, India. See
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