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Tina Turner back as Goddess Shakti? - Hindustan Times

We believe this project to be closed. Since finishing the tour last year, it still stands that Tina has no plans to work in the foreseeable future.(ITTF)

August 2, 2010

Six years ago, US-based Merchant Ivory Productions had announced a film with the ‘Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll’, Tina Turner. It was called The Goddess, and Turner was to play the title role of Hindu Goddess Shakti. The film got shelved soon after, in 2005, because its director Ismail Merchant related stories Ustad Zakir Hussain returns to the movies passed away following a surgery.

But the film, which Merchant had at that time revealed to be a musical comedy, is now being revived after all these years. Tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain, who had composed Sanskrit, Hindi and English songs for the movie — all sung by Turner herself — reveals exclusively, “Yes, there is some talk about The Goddess starting again.

“The movie had got shelved because Ismail Merchant had passed away, but I got a call from the producers 10 days ago, and it seems they are taking it out of cold storage and trying to get it going,” Hussain says.

The musician is unable to confirm whether Turner will resume acting in the project, though. “Tina had recorded the songs I had composed the music, and it was okayed at the time. I’m meeting the producers in New York in two weeks, and that’s when I’ll have a better idea about the situation.”

Gifted Artiste It is most likely that Turner will be brought back on, since at the time of its conception, the movie was Merchant’s pet project and he had persuaded the pop diva out of retirement to act in the title role. In an interview at the time, Merchant had been quoted as saying, “The film has such energy that only Tina could have played the lead role. I think she is natural; the greatest gift we have received in the world of music and dance. In real life, too, she’s a Goddess.”

The film, which was to also star Matthew Modine, deals with the supernatural. It is about a goddess, Shakti, who has the power to manipulate the past, present and future. The film, set in ancient India, depicts the relationship of three Indians and a painter, played by Modine, with Goddess Shakti.

To prepare for her role, Turner had taken a tour of India, visiting Varanasi, taking a trip across river Ganga, going to temples in South India and meeting actors, dancers and singers in the film industry.

But the film had got embroiled in controversy soon after it was launched, with many religious groups opposing the choice of casting Turner as a Hindu goddess because of her reputation as a “sex icon”. Hindu rights activist groups in the UK had taken serious offence at the casting of a woman “who appears half-naked often”, calling it “offensive, and an insult to Hindus all over the world”.

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