Shri Siddhartha Gautam stillSri Lankan film Sri Siddhartha Gautama, directed by Saman Weeraman, will open the second edition of Delhi International Film Festival to be held from December 21 till December 27 in New Delhi.

Saman Weeraman’s Sri Siddhartha Gautama is based on the life story of Prince Siddhartha and his quest for truth, after realization of which he attains enlightenment and become Lord Buddha.

Indian actor Gagan Malik plays the protagonist role of Prince Siddhartha. “Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country. The 80 percent of the population is Buddhist. The film’s writer Navin Gooneratne has been trying to make this film for last six years. The Maha Sangh (The Srilankan council of Buddhists) objected in anyone portraying the Lord Buddha in the film as they believe no human is enlightened enough to portray Lord Buddha. After two to three years of research and writing, he finally presented the story of Prince Siddhartha until he attains enlightenment, after which he becomes the Buddha, where the film ends. The Maha Sangh gave it’s permission to the story,” Malik spoke on the development of the film.

Around 300 men from all around the world were auditioned for the role of Prince Siddhartha before the team finally came to India. Navin Gooneratne met Gagan Malik for the audition session and asked him about his hobbies, whether he consume meat and alcohol or not etc. “Navin told me that the Prince Siddhartha is more than a character to him and he knew that people in Sri Lanka would look up to the person portraying the character with the same belief. I went to Sri Lanka for four times for auditions. At the final stage, he stayed at my place for seven days before selecting me for the role,” said Malik on his journey to the film.

The closing film of the 2nd Delhi International Film Festival will be Ariel Cohen’s Take Mama from Israel.

The 2nd Delhi International Film Festival will showcase 171 films from 39 countries around the world over the period of seven days at the NDMC Convention Center, Connaught Place, New Delhi.