Big B to lend voice to show on the Buddha

Superstar Amitabh Bachchan will now provide a voice-over for a light-and-sound show to be held in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, highlighting the life and ideology of Lord Buddha.

According to divisional commissioner Deepak Agrawal, the company that is producing the show has started preparations for the recording.

The show had to be ready for screening by September 30 as per the initial plan, but Bachchan tested positive for Covid-19 and the recording was delayed.

“Fresh dates have been given to the company and recording will complete by October 25 after which sound mixing will take some time and so the show is likely to be ready for screening by the year-end,” the commissioner added.

Tourism joint director Avinash Mishra said the content of the show had been finalised long ago and the content creator who developed the light and sound show of Agra and Jhansi was on this project too.

Efforts to rope in Bachchan for the recording of the narration of Lord Buddha’s life since childhood to his ‘parinirvana’ for a global audience had begun in 2018, he informed.

The Union ministry of tourism had, in 2002-03, sanctioned Rs 3.52 crore for a sound and light show based on Lord Buddha at the Buddha Theme Park of Sarnath, where he had delivered his first sermon.

The Indian Tourism Development Corporation was assigned the project in 2003-04, but no work was done. The ministry withdrew the funds from ITDC in 2013.

The UP tourism department decided to shift the site of the show to Dhamekha Stupa and sought consent from the Archaeological Survey of India.

On the ASI’s request, Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (IIT-BHU) experts evaluated the impact of the light-and-sound show on the monument.

It was only after getting a positive report, the ASI gave its nod to the tourism department which asked Rajkiya Nirman Nigam to execute the project in 2016-17 and revised the budget to Rs 7.88 crore by February 2018.

The audience gallery for the light-and-sound show has been developed in a park between stupa and ruins of some monuments with a makeshift sitting arrangement.