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Deccan Herald » Metro Life - Thurs » Detailed Story
Temptations for a noble cause
Rashmi Rao
Come Sunday and all roads in town will lead to Chinnaswamy Stadium, the venue of ‘Temptation 2005’, a mega musical with performances by Bollywood’s King Khan accompanied by Queen Bee Rani Mukherjee, Zayed Khan, Lara Dutta and Malaika Arora-Khan.

The proceeds of the event, managed by Squarecircle events and produced by Ginger Networks Pvt Ltd., will go towards the support of the Sanghamitra Foundation.

Metrolife spoke to the foundation president M Ramesh, who’s putting the show together for a cause.

What inspired you to organise a show like this?

For two decades I served the student community and saw unemployment and ignorance from close quarters. I wanted to do something to empower such people. The foundation has chalked out several schemes to uplift the people, among which is our ambitious project to create a world peace and religious harmony centre. We drew inspiration from Buddha, Gandhiji and Dr Ambedkar. We planned an entertainment programme to get people from all levels of society involved in the project.

What are the highlights of this project?

We are creating the world’s tallest monolithic statue of Lord Buddha measuring 1,050 ft in height and carved out of ‘Handi Gondi Rock’ at Gopalpura village in Ramanagara taluk, at the 45th km on Bangalore-Mysore road.

We have obtained environmental clearance and acquired the rocks from the forest department. We will place our proposal for acquiring another 300 acres from the State government as soon as we start work on the rock sculpture. The place will also have a 70-ft tall bust of Mahatma Gandhi and a 150-ft tall rock carved statue of Dr B R Ambedkar. There will an Ashoka Pillar view point to see the entire Buddha statue.

This apart we plan to have cultural, spiritual, service, youth, scientific study and social reformation centres, community service hall, world peace centre, a helipad, cable car, guest houses, basic services, including bus stand, post office, hospital, schools, orphanage, old age home, recreation activities, shopping centre and more.

Tell us more about the Buddha statue.

It will be created in ‘Gandhara’ style of sculpture, which existed during Ashoka’s reign, by two master sculptors identified in Chennai and their team, all of whom have worked on Buddha statues in the country. The statue is estimated to cost Rs 30 crore and ‘Temptation 2005’ will help support the project to a certain stage, after which we hope it becomes a people’s movement. The statues will take about six years to complete.

I wish to state here that no rocks will be destroyed. Statues will be carved and the jelli and stones from them will be used to construct the Ashoka Pillar and other planned constructions. We will also take up afforestation.

How receptive were Bollywood stars towards the project?

Shahrukh Khan gave us a patient hearing and agreed to do a show to help raise funds as he concurred with our concept of creating a centre for international brotherhood and inter-religious harmony. He garnered support of the other stars.

And tickets for the show?

Tickets for Temptation 2005 are available at all Café Coffee Day Outlets and Coffee Day Xpress Outlets, Chinnaswamy Stadium and Worldspace Lounges, in denominations of Rs 500, Rs 1,000, Rs 2,000, Rs 3,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000. For door delivery call 25705858. For details call 25212195/ 25212196/ 51128811/ 51128812.
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