Kathmandu, July 24 (IANS) What does Bollywood director Nikhil Advani have in common with Hollywood documentary maker Howard Worth? For starters, both thought the Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born in India.
Worth, the maker of the 1971 documentary film “Raga: A film journey into the soul of India”, a tribute to sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, goes one step further to attribute something else to India as well – one of the most prized Nepali landmarks – Mt Everest, the highest peak in the world.
“I always thought Mt Everest was in India,” the Californian said during a programme of the Nepali diaspora in Los Angeles.
However, while Advani has been pilloried in Nepal for his gaffe with his 2009 action comedy “Chandni Chowk to China” being banned in Nepal for wrongly saying the Buddha was born in India, non-resident Nepalis have lauded the Hollywood director as a champion supporting causes for humanity.
Worth attended “An Honor Program” organized by the Los Angeles chapter of Nepali Janasamparka Samiti at the Haveli restaurant.
The other guests included the Nepali ambassador to the US, Shankar Prasad Sharma, and Hindu scripture narrator Dinabandhu Pokhrel, whose scriptural narrations have raised millions of rupees for social projects in Nepal.
Worth, the diaspora said, delivered an emotional speech, promising to support the Shree Pashupatinath Foundation in the US that has also built a replica of the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu.
The Hollywood filmmaker told the crowd that he always thought, “Mount Everest is in India” and “Lord Buddha was born in India”.
Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism,. was born in Lumbini, in Nepal, which is a World Heritage Site. He attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, India.
However, there were no brickbats at the statements and Worth’s pledge that he would make a documentary on Nepal and Nepalis to promote their causes was not greeted with any scepticism.
“Overall, this was a moment to feel great about Nepali (sic) and Nepali PRIDE in the foreign land,” the organisers gushed in a statement. “Every Nepali present at the programme was proud that our community work has been noticed by somebody in Hollywood and had great expectation (sic) from Mr Howard Worth.”