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Tina Turner Tours India for Film Role

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.

Turner, 64, bid farewell to her pop career four years ago and her previous big screen appearance was alongside Mel Gibson in “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.”

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