Why Ashutosh Gowariker was not a part of 'Buddha'?

Ashutosh Gowariker’s dream project Buddha has been a jinxed venture ever since it was announced in 2009. The film project that went through numerous script changes, budgeting constrains and pre-production hassles was then converted into a television series. The show currently on air is in no way associated with Gowariker, but being directed by a newcomer named Dharmesh.

Ashutosh Gowariker
Ashutosh Gowariker

So what really transpired between producer BK Modi and Gowariker, for the latter to drop out of the project altogether?

Costume drama: A scene from 'Buddha'

Says a source, “Gowariker and Modi were having creative differences since a long time regarding the budgeting and casting of the show. Every time they’d reach a consensus on a particular aspect of the project, there would be another problem to deal with.”

Cracks in their partnership started to appear when they were unable to finalise on a lead for the film way back in 2010, even after months of auditions. “It was Modi who decided that he wanted to go ahead with a TV series named Buddha and not a film because he thought it had more potential to pan out as an engaging 50-episode show. Gowariker however wasn’t too thrilled about the idea,” adds the source.

Gowariker who had been researching on the project day and night had apparently visualised playing it out on nothing less than the big screen. “He refused to let his magnum opus be jeopardised by someone else’s whimsical visions and hence decided he wants to have nothing to do with the TV series.”

Modi however went right ahead using up all of the research done by Ashutosh’s production team to create his own Buddha. “The show is nothing like what Ashutosh would have wanted it to be, but he couldn’t do much,” the source points out.

Modi even tried to rope on other directors, including Shekhar Kapur for the project, but in vain. However another source claims that Modi had been working on the film even before Ashutosh and since he owns the rights of the film, few could question him. “Modi was always clear about the fact that be it a film or a TV series it will be made with or without Ashutosh.”

On the other hand, we hear that Ashutosh had decided to make the film, Buddha, with a whole new script all by himself. The film was supposed to go on floors next month, but has now been out on hold indefinitely.

Gowariker and Modi were unavailable for comment. 

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