Tathagata Buddha

Tathagata Buddha

This is a Bollywood-like take on the life and times of the Buddha, which was first produced in Telegu in 2007; though the version we have here is the 2008 Hindi language version with English subtitles.

The film is much better than I had expected and even the songs which feature occasionally are well-written and are to the point.

The film, which is just over 2 hours long, covers a large part of the story, beginning with the birth in Kapilavatthu; Siddhattha’s marriage, his leaving on the quest for Awakening and his first meeting with King Bimbisāra.

The Awakening itself is handled with special effects illustrating the fight with Māra, the recall of previous lives and the Awakening to the Four Noble Truths; which is followed by his teaching the group-of-five monks; the return to Rājagaha and dedication of the first monastery by Bimbisāra.

The film also shows the journey to Kapilavatthu and conversion of his family and clan members, which is followed by meetings with Anāthapiṇḍika and Ambapālī, the introduction of the nuns’ order, the conflict with Devadatta and the conversion of Angulimala, before the parinibbāna at the end of his career.

The film is very colourful, especially the palace scenes, and the only real shortcoming is in the editing, which doesn’t always match when changing views of the same scene, and the poorly translated subtitles; still it is a worthwhile effort, that no doubt would appeal to an Indian audience foremost, but which has a larger appeal also.


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