Vol. 4 Num 171 Sat. November 15, 2003  

Penelope to act in movie on Mother Teresa
Hollywood beauty Penelope Cruz is set to lend her support to a docu drama based on the life of Mother Teresa. The actress, who had volunteered with Missionaries of Charity for seven years, will play herself in the film and will also do the Spanish voiceover.

The film is being made by India-born Gautam Das, scriptwriter and associate producer of the Tom Hanks starrer Bachelor Party and scriptwriter of In The Shadow of Kilimanjaro . He is directing Mother Teresa , a $ 2-million project being produced by Sahara, co-produced by Percept and Tribe K Cinema. Penelope had several interactions with Mother, which are portrayed in the film.

Based on a 30,000-page research work done by the Vatican, it features interactions of Mother with eminent personalities like Father Brian from the Vatican (second in command to the Pope), Sister Nirmala (who now heads Missionaries of Charity), lensman Raghu Rai, Mother's biographer Navin Chawla and Sahara chief Subroto Roy.

Shot in Rome, France, Kolkatta and Chitagarh, the film will be made in English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Italian. French actress Sylvie Amato is playing a young Mother Teresa.

"The film features some miracles attributed to Mother. It will be mainly for the international market, but with Indian sensibility," says Das. "Due to her schedule, Penelope couldn't do the central role, but she says she wants to do a film on Mother when she's in her 40s," he said.

Music will be an important part of the film and will have six songs, to be created by a collaboration between Indian artists and French musicians. There's also a move to have Lata Mangeshkar sing for the film.

Recalling his first meeting with Mother, Roy says, "When I met her for the first time, she gave a card to my friend. I asked her what the card was. She said, don't you know this is my business card? I said business card? Well, yes," she replied. "My business is to beg for my children, she said. Mother never asked for money from me, but she used to ask for old clothes for children she was taking care of. My association with her was based on emotion, admiration and respect," recalled Roy.

The documentary, to be made with the cooperation of the Vatican as well as Missionaries of Charity, will highlight Mother Teresa's journey through life with commentary by the Archbishop of Kolkatta Cardinal Henry D'Souza.

It will also have footage of the beatification in Rome and interviews with Catholic scholars. The film will be released in February.

Source: Times News Network