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Ash to star in Hollywood flick

AFP
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 04, 2004

NEW DELHI: Bollywood's Aishwarya Rai is set to star in a Hollywood blockbuster called Taj Mahal , the famous monument to love built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. 

A group of US-based Indian technology tycoons will fund the 10-million-dollar IMax film to be released in January 2006, the Asian Age newspaper reported Saturday. 

The name of the Hollywood star who will play the Shah to Ash's Mumtaz Mahal, his legendary wife, is being kept secret. 

"Even though the Taj Mahal belongs to India, the monument has been a symbol of love for all countries," said one of the film's promoters, who was not identified. 

"It could be the biggest international movie venture out of India since Gandhi , Richard Attenborough's epic," he said. 

K B Chandrasekhar and B V Jagadeesh, co-founders of Internet infrastructure firm Exodus Communications Inc, have joined hands with several overseas-based Indian technology millionaires to form a company called India Lotus Inc to bankroll the movie. 

Taj Mahal will be the first Indian IMax film, which is shown on a screen 10 times larger than the conventional screen. "It makes the viewer feel as if he is part of the film. The IMax version of Taj Mahal will be for only an hour. But the 35 mm version will be three hours long," said Richard L Gelfold, IMax co-chief executive officer. 

The Taj Mahal was built in Agra in the 17th century by the emperor, who was heartbroken at the death of his second wife Mumtaz while giving birth to their fourteenth child. 

Rai, a former Miss World, has been trying to cross over to Hollywood from the Bombay-based Bollywood. 

The Indian Express said she had also won a role in a Hollywood murder mystery called Windfall and set around the tragic gas leak that killed thousands 20 years ago in the central Indian city of Bhopal. 

Shooting of the 25-million dollar film was to start in the fall of 2005. Rai's last film Bride and Prejudice was directed by UK-based Gurinder Chadha, who found fame with Bend it like Beckham
   
  

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