Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Different Pilgrimage to be screened at Cannes- Hindustan Times

    • S. Krishnaswamy, who first shot to incredible fame with his Indus Valley to Indira Gandhi in 1976, a four-hour riveting work distributed by Warner Brothers, has now made a feature length documentary, A Different Pilgrimage. Produced by his wife, Mohana Krishnaswamy, the film explores a virtually virgin subject: ancient India’s cultural and religious impact on South-east Asia. Having studied a history that was visualised and written by the white colonial masters, Indians have hardly known about the unique ties that once bonded them with south-east Asians. A Different Pilgrimage – well researched and marvellously photographed by celebrated cinematographer Madhu Ambat – fills this lacuna. The camera meanders along tens of locations in Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam trying to show us the phenomenally strong links that these nations shared with India, its heritage and culture -- links that went far beyond Buddhism. “We exported much more than Buddhism to these places”, Krishnaswamy avers.
    • A Different Pilgrimage, just out of the post-production lab, will be screened at the Cannes Film Festival Market. The Festival runs from May 12 to 23. At 109 minutes long, the documentary brings alive Borabudur and Prambanan in Java, Angkor Wat and Bayon in Cambodia, Phimai and Pnom Rung in Thailand, Wat Phu Champasak in Laos, Mi Son and Po Nagar in Vietnam and Baisaki in Bali, where centuries-old temples and monuments keep alive Indian tradition till this day. Daily worship has gone on there without a break. And here are a couple of fascinating facets: the Rajaguru to the Thai King traces his ancestry to India and the temple town of Chidambaram and recites Tamil Bhakti hymns, while the Rajaguru of the Cambodian monarch performs Hindu rituals in the royal court.
    • Recipient of Padmashri and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the US International Film and Video Festival, Los Angeles, among other honours, Krishnaswamy, assisted by Mohana, took four years to complete this documentary. His earlier India 5555 was screened at the White House for President Bill Clinton as part of his familiarisation-of-India-process before his visit. And, I am sure A Different Pilgrimage will help us traverse on an exciting path of discovery.

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