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Tina Turner in Merchant / Ivory movie

February 22, 2004

The Goddess

BOMBAY, India - Producer Ismail Merchant says pop diva Tina Turner's two-week tour of India has prepared her for her role as a singing, dancing Indian goddess in a new Merchant-Ivory film.

"'The Goddess' will be funny, intelligent and a musical," Merchant said. "It's a film about Shakti. It says women are here to rule and men better accept it."

Shakti is a Hindu goddess of power and energy and the Hindi word also means "strength."

Merchant said Turner, who left India on Wednesday, traveled with him from Varanasi, a holy city in the north, to the beaches of southern Kerala state. She met with Indian singers and dancers to prepare for the role.

"In a few weeks she has been given a big dose of Indian culture," said Merchant, who has produced dozens of movies with American director James Ivory.

Merchant said the movie would also star Matthew Modine, who plays a jealous husband in Merchant-Ivory's recent comedy "Le Divorce," which has garnered good reviews.

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