CATEGORIES Movie News
It's a "scream of grief frozen in marble." It's also one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Now, Ben Kingsley plans to show us how the Taj Mahal came to be built.

The Associated Press reports that Kingsley will produce and star in 'Taj,' a period epic budgeted at $25 million to $30 million. He'll play Shah Jahan, the 17th century Mogul emperor who spent 22 years building the monument as a shrine to his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child. It's a "scream of grief frozen in marble." It's also one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Now, Ben Kingsley plans to show us how the Taj Mahal came to be built.

The Associated Press reports that Kingsley will produce and star in 'Taj,' a period epic budgeted at $25 million to $30 million. He'll play Shah Jahan, the 17th century Mogul emperor who spent 22 years building the monument as a shrine to his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child.

She'll be played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (pictured, below left), the Bollywood screen goddess who's perhaps best known in the West for her role in 'The Pink Panther 2.' Kingsley has hired British scribe David Ashton to pen the script.

Kingsley has spent much of the past year revisiting his Indian roots. Born in England to a father of Indian descent (Kingsley's real name is Krishna Pandit Bhanji), the actor first gained fame (and an Oscar) when he starred as Mahatma Gandhi in 1982's 'Gandhi.'

Earlier this year, Kingsley filmed what is considered the first Bollywood production to have a Westerner in the lead role, a thriller called 'Teen Patti.' His costar was Indian screen legend Amitabh Bachchan, the father-in-law of Kingsley's 'Taj' co-star. The film is set to be released in India in February, but Kingsley and the producers hope the film will crossover to Western audiences as well.

Explaining his desire to play another icon of Indian history, Kingsley issued a statement about 'Taj,' saying, "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."

Production on 'Taj' is expected to begin in the latter part of 2010. Let's hope it doesn't take 22 years to finish.