After the sweltering heat of Pataudi near India’s capital Delhi, Julia Roberts is moving to Cherrapunji in northeast India, which enjoys the reputation of “world’s wettest place”. Her tryst with India began when she first landed here to shoot for her movie, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ after completing the first leg of shooting in New York and Italy.
With her entourage including 350 bodyguards, that follow her around, she shot around Ashram Harmandir hermitage. A controversy of sorts arose when the temple was closed to the public and devotees were turned away by her body guards on an important festival according to Hindu calendar. It might have enraged the devotees but godman of ashram seems to be quite pleased with Roberts as he rechristened her and her children. Her Indian name is ‘Parvati’ her eldest son is ‘Ganesh’, second daughter is ‘Lakshmi’ and youngest son is ‘Krishna’. When Roberts visited a nearby village of Mirzapur for shooting, a number of villagers gathered to gawk at her. Besides ashram, movie has also been filmed at Ram Mandir, millet fields and Patuadi railway station.
The entire Pataudi Palace Heritage Hotel has been booked for Roberts and crew of the movie till October 10. Built in 1935, this palace was the official residence of last Nawab of Pataudi, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, a former Indian Cricket Team captain and his wife Sharmila Tagore, an actress. She is addressed as “Julia ji” by the hotel staff.
Now that director Ryan Murphy wants to shoot the rains of Cherrapunji, the crew will move there. Afterwards, the crew will head to Indonesia for the finale of the movie. Slated for release in 2011, the film include stars like Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Richard Jenkins (The Visitor), Viola Davis (Doubt), Billy Crudup (Almost Famous), James Franco (Pineapple Express), Luca Argentero (Lezioni di cioccolato), etc.
Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism in Nevada (USA), advised Roberts to visit Hindu temples in Meghalaya and nearby Assam. He suggested that it would be helpful in exploring her spirituality further and complement her interest in yoga and all things Indian.