We’re Making a Movie about Love.
Our Hollywood feature film is about the epic love story of the Taj Mahal.
Our mission is to amplify love, unite religions, and honor India.
Yes, this is lofty and bold. Thankfully, the Taj Mahal has the unique power to accomplish this. Plus, we’ve discovered some hidden truths about it that will magnify its incredible global influence.
Although the Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, its wonderful story isn’t world famous - yet. The Taj Mahal might be the most well known subject that Hollywood has not made a movie about - yet. In fact, the Taj Mahal is the most Googled monument in the world (more than the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, and The Great Wall of China). Eight million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. The Taj Mahal brand is arguably worth billions. This is a movie that people want to see. This is an extremely rare filmmaking opportunity.
TAJ MAHAL is a historical epic drama on a similar scale as GANDHI, GLADIATOR, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, GONE WITH THE WIND, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, and TITANIC. Our film has the potential to become a worldwide box office success and to also have a tremendous impact on millions of people. This movie needs to be made.
However, it needs to be made the right way to truly be worthy of the Taj Mahal. To clarify, we’re not raising production funds right now to make the movie, so we can then sell it at a film festival. Also, we’re not developing it to then sell the package to a major studio to then have the studio finish making the movie. We’re actually raising $2M for the development of the film, which includes attaching A-list talent and acquiring major studio distribution, so that we can then obtain $100M+ in film production funds. Maintaining this level of control and at the highest production quality will allow us to tell the most powerful story in the most impactful way. We’re making a Hollywood + Bollywood + Silicon Valley film. The first of its kind. And worthy of the Taj Mahal.
Historical Epic Drama
TAJ MAHAL is a film with an unparalleled combination of passionate romance, rich history, stunning scenery, tremendous battles, power struggles, tender relationships, magnificent architecture, murderous rebellions, interesting characters, unimaginable wealth, deep conversations, palace intrigue, spiritual experiences, and glamorous pageantry.
TAJ MAHAL will be historically accurate and wildly entertaining. It will be accessible to the average American who barely knows about the Taj Mahal and has no experience with the spectacle of Bollywood. It will also be deeply inspiring to Indians who appreciate their homeland’s storied Mughal past, as well as those dedicated fans of Bollywood and classical Indian art and music.
Our story begins with the birth of the Mughal empire, when Emperor Babur conquered northern India using just the novel approach of gunpowder and 10,000 men to defeat a massive army of 100,000 Hindustani men and their 1,000 elephants. Then, we fast forward to the birth of Babur’s great-grandson, Shah Jahan. We witness the grooming of young Shah Jahan by his religiously-inclusive grandfather, Akbar the Great - a Muslim who wore a medallion of the Virgin Mary over his regal robes.
After Akbar’s death, the story moves on to Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal meeting in their teens, their long courtship, his leadership over an army of 200,000 as a prince, their marriage, efforts by his stepmother to prevent him from becoming the emperor, his war with his family to capture the throne, and the expansion of his empire to become the world’s largest economy.
Our story’s heartbreaking event is the death of Mumtaz during the birth of their 14th child and Shah Jahan’s anguish over her passing. Then, we embark on the 20+ year construction of the Taj Mahal, which was partially designed by their eldest child, Princess Jahanara. We then follow Shah Jahan’s sickness that caused a power struggle between his four sons that left two of them dead, Shah Jahan’s imprisonment in the Agra Fort by his emperor son, the tragedy of only being able to view the Taj Mahal through his prison window during the last 8 years of his life.
As with many historical figures/monuments, there are some controversies surrounding both Shah Jahan and the Taj Mahal. Some of these were controversial at the time and some became controversial in hindsight. These include harems, the labor used to build the Taj Mahal, its Muslim-centric nature, etc. Our movie will respectfully address these issues accurately and efficiently in an entertaining and inspiring way.
One of the ways to address these controversial actions by Shah Jahan is with actions/conversations with those around him who were of high moral character, such as his grandfather Akbar the Great, his wife Mumtaz Mahal, and his daughter Princess Jahanara. Although Shah Jahan might believe the ends justify the means, these three characters could offer an alternative, mentoring viewpoint regarding the consequences of his actions. This is a similar role that Jiminy Cricket served with Pinocchio.
However, this isn’t a documentary. This is entertainment. But this is entertainment that will educate and inspire in an authentic way. Please know that this movie is not just for an American audience. In fact, the average Hollywood blockbuster derives two-thirds of its theatrical revenue from markets outside of the US. Thus, we’re making a movie for a global audience and hence will be sensitive to the various sensibilities of that audience. To help us achieve this, we’ll utilize historical consultants throughout our filmmaking process to ensure accuracy and cultural sensitivity. We’ll also engage in proactive public relations to avoid challenges that movies such as PADMAAVAT endured. We won’t be perfect, but we’ll always try to amplify love, not propagate hate.
The core conflict of the film is family. This is manifest in many ways: Shah Jahan being raised by his honorable grandfather in opposition to his opium-addicted father. Shah Janah being prevented from becoming emperor by his stepmother who was attempting to make her own son the emperor. Shah Jahan losing his wife during childbirth. Shah Jahan trying to raise his family while building the Taj Mahal in his wife’s honor. Shah Jahan’s sons fighting to the death for his throne. Shah Jahan’s daughter sacrificing her life to care for him in prison.
We also address family conflict in broader themes. This includes the descendants of the sons of Abraham (Christians, Jews, and Muslims) fighting one another, which essentially is a big family feud. This also includes the importance of the eternal nature of families and the forces trying to destroy them. Family conflict will provide the crucial tension in TAJ MAHAL and will be used to drive this epic narrative forward, just as in COCO, THE GODFATHER, and STAR WARS.
The Power of the Taj Mahal
TAJ MAHAL is a unique opportunity to spread love, promote world peace, and increase appreciation for India. Our writer, Mantoshe Singh Devji, discovered some practically forgotten Christian and European connections to the Taj Mahal. Thus, our film will include Hollywood stars to play these Western characters.
With the Taj Mahal’s connections to Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam, members of these three largest religions can be inspired to form a deeper respect for each other. Yes, the halo effect of our movie will naturally produce some of these positive results, but it will also contain scenes based on historical facts that will directly foster these wonderful results.
Shah Jahan received special mentoring from his grandfather, Akbar the Great, who fostered religious tolerance. Akbar counseled with leaders from several religions and had them instruct young Shah Jahan. Akbar created a new religion/philosophy called Din-i-llahi, which borrowed elements from these religions.
Imagine a scene, based on historical fact, where Akbar shows young Shah Jahan his Virgin Mary medallion he wore over his royal robes and the cherished painting he had of her that he displayed in prominence near his throne. This could be an ideal time to mention that the Virgin Mary is the only woman referenced in the Quran and in it is called the greatest of all women, which would help Christians and Muslims better appreciate their common ground.
Image a scene, based on historical fact, where the young Muslim Shah Jahan is baptized by Jesuit priests in the first Catholic church built in the Mughal Empire, know as “Akbar’s Church”, because it was constructed on land donated by Akbar. It's still standing today.
Imagine a scene, based on historical fact, where just months before Akbar dies, he and 12-year old Shah Jahan travel in an elaborate, royal procession along a dusty road. On top of a massive bull elephant rides the emperor and his grandson. Coming into their view on the horizon is a massive reflection of the sun that momentarily blinds them. As they regain their sight, they realize it's a building bathed in gold. Incredible. Stunning. The Golden Temple. The most sacred spiritual site of the Sikhs. It’s built upon land donated by Akbar and he’s been invited to attend the dedication. As they get closer, it seems to be floating upon a lake, like a mirage. As they arrive in the gleaming shadow of this sparkling edifice, they dismount their royal pachyderm and are greeted by turban-wearing Sikhs. The Emperor is warmly welcomed and thanked for his generous donation of the land. This heartwarming scene will help to increase appreciation between Muslims and Sikhs.
Imagine the scene continuing inside The Golden Temple, where the current emperor and the future emperor both join thousands of other people in sitting on simple mats on the floor. Then, they all share a free, communal vegetarian meal served by the Sikhs. Next, the ceremony begins. Guru Arjan dedicates the sacred site by placing a copy of the holy Adi Granth scripture in the building.
Afterwards, as the Mughals walk around the water’s edge with the Sikhs’ magnificent gold and marble edifice behind them, Akbar asks Shah Jahan how this building makes him feel. Grandfather then shares with grandson the wisdom of religious tolerance. This is a classic, heart-to-heart talk like Yoda would have with Luke, or Mufasa would have with Simba. At the impressional age of 12 years old, Shah Jahan is deeply moved by the unique power that a building can have, thus planting the seed for the Taj Mahal.
Our film is based on the book, TAJ MAHAL LOVERS’ STORY, by Mantoshe Singh Devji. It was published in 1997 after 5+ years of intensive research. The book launch party was hosted in Delhi by the international luxury hotel chain, Taj Hotels. It was probably the first book written for an American audience that told the love story of the Taj Mahal.
Mantoshe comes from a distinguished family heritage of generals and judges. She married into India’s ruling family. Later, she became one of the first female journalists in India and then later became the assistant to the Leader of the Opposition. Eventually, she immigrated to the U.S. and obtained her second Masters and worked on a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania and interned at the UN, eventually becoming a U.S. journalist.
While in the U.S., she wrote a groundbreaking book about women and heart disease that was featured in Time and became a PBS documentary. She also wrote a trilogy about Jesus Christ that explored his lost years and his possible visit to Tibet. Her American friends have nicknamed her “The Christian Sikh” for her loving involvement with multiple faiths. Despite living in the U.S. for the last 40+ years, she’s maintained relationships with some powerful business and government leaders in India, some of whom have written testimonials for her book covers and have previously given her permission to film at the Taj Mahal. Her lifetime around powerful families, her journalistic integrity, and her spiritual curiosity give her a rare ability to bring to life the wonderful truths behind the Taj Mahal.
Mantoshe has written the TAJ MAHAL screenplay based on her book. It’s registered with the Writers Guild of America. Like any movie based on a true story, there are several ways to structure the film and many elements to decide to include or not, especially one of this massive scope. Thus, we’ll hire screenwriters to help us develop different approaches to create the final screenplay. This “multiple-writer step deal” approach starts with two or three screenwriters creating a synopsis of TAJ MAHAL from our book and screenplay. Then, those writers whose synopses are accepted go to the next step of authoring a script treatment. After that step, the approved writer(s) will graduate to creating the first draft of the screenplay, and then eventually one screenwriter will have written the final screenplay from this bake-off approach.
To produce TAJ MAHAL, Phoenix-based Mantoshe and Silicon Valley-based Jonathan Tanner have created the film development company, Taj Mahal Development LLC. They met in 1998 through “facial hair serendipity”. At the time, Mantoshe had recently published her Taj Mahal book and Jonathan was a Brigham Young University student in the middle of producing THE GOOD SAMARITAN, a short film for the Catholic and Mormon churches about the well-known Bible story. Jonathan’s father, Michael Tanner, grew out his beard to be an extra in the film. When Michael and Mantoshe were introduced to each other at a charity event in Phoenix, Mantoshe playfully remarked that with Michael’s impressive beard, he would make a great character in a movie she would love to make about her new Taj Mahal book. Michael laughed and then explained that he was already growing his beard for his son’s film. An immediate bond was formed and their quest to bring TAJ MAHAL to the world began.
Filmmaking has been a passion of Jonathan’s from an early age. While growing up in Phoenix, he created student films in junior high and high school, as well as worked at video rental stores and a movie theater. He graduated from Brigham Young University in business with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and a film minor. During college, he produced THE GOOD SAMARITAN (awarded the CINE Golden Eagle) and a PBS documentary on Samoan gangs. For 10 years in Utah and now 10 years in Silicon Valley, Jonathan has started companies in the e-commerce and pharmacy industries, formed biz dev deals with Fortune 500 companies, raised millions, and generated millions in revenues. He brings a startup founder’s approach to strategy, tenacity, and execution to this TAJ MAHAL startup.
We’re humbled by this opportunity to be the stewards of the Taj Mahal movie.
Our Producing Consultants
Our producing consultants are the team at One Door Studios. They provide a full range of consulting services including script development, legal, financing, and distribution.
One Door Studios was co-founded by John Lee. He’s provided business, funding, and distribution services for films and television shows with production costs totalling $470 million+ and global earnings of $4 billion+. He’s the author of "The Producer's Business Handbook", in its fourth edition. He’s also the former Dean of Asia’s largest entertainment and media college, Whistling Woods International, founded by famed Indian filmmaker Subhash Ghai in Film City, Mumbai.
Entertainment attorney Richard Morse is also part of the team at One Door Studios and will serve as our inside counsel. His two decades of experience encompasses specialized business and legal affairs services in all aspects of entertainment, arts, sports, and new media, with a primary emphasis in film. Over this time he has served as General Counsel or head of business and legal affairs for entertainment industry entities in production, film finance, and international distribution companies.
“Greenberg Glusker is one of the most prominent firms in Hollywood” - The Hollywood Reporter
At funding, the LA law firm of Greenberg Glusker will serve as our outside counsel and our entertainment attorneys. The firm’s Film Finance team are known for their savvy in closing high-dollar, time-sensitive, cross-border entertainment deals and complex film financings. Our attorneys advise on regulations in corporate, securities, taxation, copyright, trademark, publicity, partnership, and all manner of entertainment business needs, including drafting and negotiating agreements relating to the development, financing, and exploitation of film, television, digital, and literary properties.
The firm represents top actors, directors, writers, producers, and companies. These include Tom Cruise, Vin Diesel, Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Oliver Stone, James Cameron, David Fincher, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffen, The Beatles, and Madonna, as well as virtually every major Hollywood studio including DreamWorks, MGM, United Artists, and Toho.
The firm consistently handles some of the biggest and most sophisticated deals in Hollywood. For example, Greenberg Glusker recently represented the Tolkien estate and was the chief architect of the $250M purchase by Amazon for the rights to produce The Lord of the Rings television series, which will cost over $1B to create. The firm also represented Exclusive Media in connection with $100 million of film production financing, as well as Toho-Towa, Kadokawa, and Lotte on their investment in Hemisphere, a $250 million slate financing transaction for large budget studio films, including Tin Tin, Men in Black III and Smurfs.
In addition to its high profile clients, the firm also represents a diverse group of up-and-coming artists and emerging companies worldwide, such as TAJ MAHAL. As a client of the firm, we’ll enjoy the firm’s close relationships with top decision makers in all areas of the industry and the firm’s long-standing reputation as one of the most respected firms in Hollywood.
Our Advisory Board
Our Advisory Board is composed of American and Indian citizens who are leaders in banking, business, filmmaking, philanthropy, and politics. Our board will continue to expand. We also have Advisory Board members who need to remain anonymous for now.
Founder The Al Noor Charitable Society (free private school education for 4,000+
impoverished Indian children). Former "Second Lady of India" from 2007 - 2017
with husband, former Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari.
VP at Western Digital. Former tech startup founder. 33-year veteran and former VP of Intel. Co-Founder of 40-year old Bay-Area Bollywood cover band. Father of Richa Moorjani, co-star of Indian-American Mindy Kaling’s Netflix series NEVER HAVE I EVER.
Colonel Surinder Singh
Retired Chief of Staff to the Founder/CEO of Ranbaxy, having set up the R&D center and two pharmaceutical plants. Former Executive Director of Ran Air. Served in the Indian army for 25+ years.
Gay Firestone Wray
President of the Roger S. Firestone Foundation. Co-Chair of the Sandra Day
O'Connor Institute. Founding Board Member of the Women’s Board of the
Barrow Neurological Foundation. Former Board Member of the Smithsonian
As one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal deserves the best artists to help bring this movie to life. Many of our artists will join after we partner with our director. Some of our artists may actually perform in the movie.
Sam Cardon: Composer
EMMY-winning composer of numerous films, television shows, and video games, as well as two Olympics and 16 IMAX films, including the Peter O'Toole narrated MYSTIC INDIA, in which he collaborated with the world-renowned Indian bamboo flute player, Ronu Majumdar.
Ustad Zakir Hussain: Musician
Two-time Grammy-winning, world-renowned Indian musician and tabla player, having released over 65 albums, composed several films, performed countless concerts worldwide, and received many civilian and musical awards
Ustad Shujaat Khan: Musician
Grammy-nominated and world-renowned Indian musician and sitar player, having released over 100 albums and performed countless concerts worldwide.
We’re raising $2M for our film development company, Taj Mahal Development LLC, to create the TAJ MAHAL’s film production package. This film production package will include creating the final screenplay from Mantoshe’s book and her initial screenplay, developing the production budget, estimating the revenue projections of various channels and markets, designing the visual presentation, securing contracts with the director/cast/crew, and obtaining domestic/international distribution. This package will be used to secure funding for the film production company.
To raise this $2M, we’re primarily inviting Indian Americans to participate. America’s 4 million+ Indian Americans are the wealthiest, most successful ethnic group in the US. They’re also highly networked, proud of their rich heritage, and support one another. The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE), an organization founded in Silicon Valley and now with chapters all over the world, is an impressive example of their collaborative nature.
Crowdfunding is a great way to tap into this powerful demographic. Crowdfunding allows those of Hindustan heritage from the general public who are passionate about our mission to have the opportunity to join us at this early stage for as little as $100 in building the Taj Mahal movie. Our partners at One Door Studios have recently consulted clients in launching crowdfunding campaigns for films on WeFunder, the largest equity crowdfunding platform.
When the film production package is purchased by our Taj Mahal Film Production Company for $2.2M, each development investor will receive 110% of their principal, plus their pro rata share of 10% of net profits from all revenue streams from the production company, as well as other prestigious benefits throughout the long life of the movie. Those who invest $50K+ during this round will continue as members of our Producers Board.
Use of Proceeds
Talent Attachment $550K
The $100M+ in funding for the film production company will come from split-rights deals, along with co-productions, corporate sponsorships, and/or investors. These split-rights deals include cable, domestic distribution with a major studio, international pre-sales, streaming, TV, etc. - all of which provide collateral/credibility for bank financing. To raise these funds, we’ll retain/partner with film financing experts and our entertainment law firm.
Streaming is an increasingly valuable revenue source for films. Given the global brand of the Taj Mahal and the expertise of our Silicon Valley investors, it might be more lucrative for us to create our own standalone streaming service, such as offering an annual subscription to TajMahalMovie.com for $10.
As mentioned, Indians and Indian Americans are some of the most successful people in the world. Plus, they also have a love of movies and of their rich heritage. These factors create an environment where it’s realistic to raise a portion of the $100M+ production budget from them and the companies they own/control.
One of the ways to tap into this demographic for production funding is via crowdfunding. Knowing the Taj Mahal was built by 20,000 craftsmen, we’ll invite thousands of those of Hindustan heritage to be part of our “Taj Mahal Craftsmen Club” by making an investment in our equity crowdfunding campaign (up to $50M via Regulation A+). Thus thousands of people from the general public will help to create its worldwide success and then benefit from it.
India’s Olympics & Global Leadership
Since 2002, the Indian government’s campaign, Incredible India, has promoted tourism in India, often by utilizing famous Indian actors as brand ambassadors. Our film is a natural extension of that campaign. Despite a population of over 1.3 billion people, India has not yet hosted the Olympics. TAJ MAHAL is India's Olympics. Much like the Olympics raises the profile of the host country/city, TAJ MAHAL will further raise the profile of India and its people. This is a priceless PR opportunity to showcase India on the world stage. Many organizations will want to partner with us to leverage this opportunity. Naturally, media from around the world will independently leverage this opportunity to create their own Taj Mahal and India content.
The world is facing unprecedented challenges on multiple fronts. To help solve them, the tremendous talents of India and its people around the world need to be utilized even more. And to help India solve its own problems, it needs the positive pressure of being a world leader to further refine itself. TAJ MAHAL will help elevate India even more. TAJ MAHAL will bring America and India closer.
Preserve & Improve
Unfortunately, the Taj Mahal is suffering from decay. Even worse, many of the people who live in the Taj Mahal’s hometown of Agra suffer in poverty. A significant portion of our profits will be donated to preserve the Taj Mahal and improve the lives of its neighbors. Plus, as millions of people see TAJ MAHAL in theaters across the world, there will be many opportunities to raise money to preserve the priceless history of the Taj Mahal. We’re deeply committed to leveraging the philanthropic potential that this movie has.
Our active 501(c)(3), Taj Mahal Foundation, will administer our philanthropic activities.
Hollywood + Bollywood + Silicon Valley
TAJ MAHAL creates a perfect opportunity to bring together the best of Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and Bollywood. The majority of the movie will be created in India. We will leverage the Bollywood infrastructure, which has recently produced such historical epic dramas as BAAHUBALI 1 & 2, BAJIRAO MASTANI, JODHAA AKBAR, and PADMAAVAT. Our initial investors and management are Silicon Valley veterans. Our key personnel will be Hollywood experts. Combining Silicon Valley power and Hollywood expertise with Bollywood production will ensure we create the highest quality movie possible, while leveraging the talent and benefits of filmmaking in India.
Creating a movie of this epic scale will require computer-generated visual effect techniques utilized by GAME OF THRONES, LORD OF THE RINGS, LION KING, etc. and will comprise a large portion of our $100M+ production budget. The vast majority of these visual effects are created by independent visual effect companies, such as MethodStudios.com and MPCFilm.com. Many of these companies have operations based in India, thus our visual effects will most likely be created by Indians, which will benefit the Indian economy.
Potential Sequel or Trilogy
Depending on our final screenplay, we might create two movies. If so, the first movie could cover the rise of Shah Jahan and the building of the Taj Mahal. The second movie could cover the fall of Shah Jahan and the enduring legacy of the Taj Mahal. In addition, a third movie could be made about the remarkable life of Shah Jahan’s grandfather, Akbar the Great, which would essentially serve as a prequel to TAJ MAHAL. Creating two or three movies would help us extend the benefits of our three-fold mission, maximize revenues and donations, and allow us to enjoy filmmaking economies of scale. Movies filmed back-to-back include BACK TO THE FUTURE 2 and 3, THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2 and 3, AVENGERS 3 and 4, and the upcoming AVATAR 2 and 3.
How much content we produce will first be driven by what’s best for the audience. Remember: story is king, or emperor, in this case. The second priority is what’s best for distribution. Instead of one, two, or even three movies, it might be best to make the first Taj Mahal movie and release it theatrically. Then, the 2.5 hours of the sequel and the 2.5 hours of the prequel could be made into several episodes that are exclusively released on Amazon, Apple, or Netflix.
Finally, an animated film based on the remarkable life of Empress Mumtaz Mahal would be a natural extension of our intellectual property and would entertain, enlighten, and engage children.
On average, it takes 3.5 years from the time a Hollywood legend/fairytale movie is announced its being made, to the time when it’s released. We’re projecting more time because of the addition of our pre-announcement activities, plus the large scale of our fundraising, production, and visual effects.
Development fundraising: 3 - 6 months
Development: 9 - 15 months
Production fundraising: 3 - 6 months
Pre-production: 15 - 21 months
Production: 6 - 9 months
Post production: 12 - 18 months
Total: 4 years - 6.25 years
Investing in TAJ MAHAL is similar to investing in a hardware startup. Both are capital-intensive and take years before the product hits the market. However, we’re planning for a much faster exit for investors. Our plan is for those investing in this $2M “seed round” to receive 110% of their principal in 15 - 27 months when our production company purchases our development company’s film production package for $2.2M, as part of its $100M+ film production budget.
Amplify ♥ Unite ♥ Honor
We’re partnering with those who want to help amplify love, unite religions, and honor India. The events of 2020 remind us to think of wisdom from:
Swami Sivananda (1887 - 1963): “Life is short. Time is fleeting.”’
Who might have borrowed from:
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882): “Art is long, and Time is fleeting.”
Who might have borrowed from:
Hippocrates (460 BC - 370 BC): “Ars longa, vita brevis.”
Now more than ever we need to use our time and resources to make this world a better place. Art has a long-lasting impact. The Taj Mahal has been inspiring the world for almost 400 years. The Taj Mahal movie can inspire the hearts and minds of billions of people on earth and for generations to come. You can help. Please join us if you share this vision.