(English: Religion) is a Hindi film directed by Bhavna Talwar and starring Pankaj Kapoor and Supriya Pathak in lead roles. This debut film of the director is based around the theme of communal harmony. Most of it is shot in Varanasi.
Youtube: part 1 of 7
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Marathi with eng. captions; 1940
A film about the life of Dnyaneshwar (1275 - 1296), a 13th century Maharashtrian Hindu saint (Sant - a title by which he is often referred), poet, philosopher and yogi of the Nath tradition.
Regisseur: Arjun Sajnani
sets off an irrevocable chain of events that lead to Aravasu losing his
love, Paravasu desecrating the great sacrifice, the creation of a demon
and the deaths of Yavakri and Raibhya. Finally, the purity of Arvasu and
Nittilai's love brings salvation to the land. This film is adapted from
the play The Fire and the Rain by one of India's foremost playwrights,
Girish Karnad. The story is derived from the myth of Yavakri, which is a
part of the great Indian epic, the Mahabharata.
"Altar of Fire"
Regisseur: Robert Gardner and J. F. Staal
Now almost 40 years old, may still be recommended to introduce aspects of Brahmanical traditions. This film records a 12 day ritual performed by Mambudiri Brahmins in Kerala, southwest India, in April 1975.
Interesting preview (9 min) on youtube
"Amar, Akbar, Anthony"
directed by Manmohan Desai
Three brothers are separated and united after many years - one is brought up a Hindu, another a Muslim and the last (and most memorable) a Christian. Hilarity and adventure ensues.
Preview (17 min) on youtube
"Dans les brumes de Majuli"
"Devi, The Godess"
Regisseur: Satyajit Ray
classical (and marvelous) Satyajit Ray's Devi, The Godess, that find it
very good to illustrate darsana. Devi focuses on a young woman, who is
deemed a goddess when her father-in-law, a rich feudal landlord,
envisions her as the Goddess Kali.
Director: Rajaram Vankudre
This film is ostensibly about the Marathi
Varkari sant Eknath (16th Century), but with a heavy Gandhian critique
directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra
George Pati reports using this to illustrate
problems with dharma. As the kingdom of Devigarh comes apart at the
seams, an aging bodyguard attempts to protect the Royal Family, as well
as keep its darkest secrets from ever coming to light.
Father, Son, and Holy War. Directed by Anand
Patwardhan. Mackenzie Brown uses it "in relation to contemporary
Mackenzie Brown uses it "in conjunction with the Ramayana and the contemporary issue of colonialism, suttee, etc." At first glance, you see a happy middle-class family going through the normal paces of everyday life. However, as the layers are slowly peeled back, we find a simmering cauldron of discontent within the family, with almost every family member living a lie.
Youtube: part 1 of 8, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6
, part 7, part 8
"Forest of Bliss"
Bruce Sullivan says "No narration, it's
like being parachuted into Benares by the ghats and learning by
observation." Documentary about life and death in Varanasi.
"The Fourth Stage: A Hindu's Quest for Release"
the BBC film "The Fourth Stage" documents
the deliberations of a retired Deccan Herald editor as he tries to
decide whether he should follow a family tradition and take samnyasa in
his old age. Included is his pilgrimage to Srngeri (where he
has an interview the Sankaracarya) and Banaras (where he observes a
ritual initiation into samnyasa), as well as a fascinating discussion
with his family ("We're all against your
Getting Married. Hindu and Buddhist Marriage Rituals Among the
Newars of Bhaktapur and Patan,
By Axel Michaels.
With Contributions by, Manik
Bajracacharya, Christiane Brosius and Tessa Pariyar and a Film on DVD
by Christian Bau. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag (Ethno-Indology;
Growing up. Hindu and Buddhist Initiation Rituals among Newar Children in Bhaktapur, Nepal.
By Axel Michaels.
With a Film on DVD by Christian Bau. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag (Ethno-Indology; 6).
"The God with a Green Face"
A wonderful classic is "The God with a Green
Face" which centers upon a Kathakali performance of the Ramayana in
Kerala. Besides providing many insights into the training and techniques
of this performance tradition, the film provides one of the most
compelling representations of bhakti on the visual record, especially in
the look on the face of the young tabla player in the course of the
performance. Unfortunately, copies of the film are now scarce (and in
bad shape) and something needs to be done to digitize a decent copy
before they have all disappeared.
"The Great Tales in Asian Art"
location, four beloved stories of India, Indonesia, Korea and Japan are
told through the masterpieces of visual art and the stirring
performances these tales have inspired for centuries. The Ramayana, the
epic adventure of India's legendary hero, is illustrated with Indonesian
sculpture and Javanese shadow play. In the Korean Masked Dance Drama,
told by actors wearing audaciously conceived masks, social satire is
masked by bold humor and comic dance. Gita Govinda, India's great erotic
poem, is interpreted by a beautiful dancer and celebrated in lyrical
painted images. In The Tale of Genji, the amorous adventures of Prince
Genji are told by a Japanese woman in period costume, as colorful
paintings from scrolls and screens illustrate Japan's most famous
romantic novel. Combining the visual arts with performance in a new
original format, Great Tales in Asian Art is an imaginative and
entertaining introduction to the art of Asia.
directed by Vijay Anand
mistaken for a Saint, and asked to preside over a temple in a region
that is stricken by severe drought. Raju must offer prayers for rain and
appease the people, or else they will expose him for fooling them. The
question remains will he succeed in conning devotees that have come far
and wide to watch him perform a miracle?
183 minutes, with a
U. S. A. version, 120 minutes
Handling Death. The Dynamics of Death and Ancestor Rituals Among the Newars of Bhaktapur, Nepal.
by Axel Michaels
and Christian Bau
With Contributions by Johanna Buss and Nutan Sharma and a Film on DVD by Christian Bau. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag (Ethno-Indology; 3)
"L'Inde des jours & des hommes / Daily life & people in India"
"Jai Santoshi Maa"
Herman Tull: "Also, not on
the plane of a documentary, but the most successful film showing I ever
had in a South Asian studies class was the 1975 film "Jai Santoshi
Maa." I intended to show just a bit of it, but the students
were captivated, and so we watched the entire film. It also
led to a tremendous discussion... She refuses to believe her husband is
dead, also refuses to behave like a widow, and steadfastly starts
sixteen weeks of fasting and devotion to appease Devi Maa Santoshi -
little knowing that her very own plight is due to three jealous Devi
Maa's' - Gauri, Lakshmi, and Parvati - the spouses of Bhagwan Shri
Brahmaji, Vishnuji, and Shivji - and there is no power on Earth that can
save her from their wrath."
From the der Website: Loving Krishna is about
the worship of Krishna and the meaning of devotion. It explores the
rural and urban character of the town of Vishnapur in West Bengal by
examining the royal past, everyday life, work in traditional arts and
crafts, bazaar exchange, and sacred rituals and festivals. Public and
private devotional life is represented by detailed visual narratives of
the Chariot Journey of Krishna, celebrated by the whole town, and the
Birthday Festival commemorated on a much smaller scale of intimate
"On the road with the red god: MACHHENDRANATH"
Regisseur: Kesang Tseten
doumentary shows the rowdy, interreligious side of the rath yatra, along
with the touching story of a Newari Buddhist priest who was separated
from his mother as a baby. This is tied to the traditional narrative of
the theft of a god from a demoness to save the Kathmandu Valley. Kapil
Muni's ritual duties include warding off the goddess once a year as she
tries to recover her son.
Written by Peter Brook, et
Ellen Goldberg shows the Bhagavadgita portion and
the dice scene. Originally in a 318 minute version (6 55-episodes),
there is also a 171-minute U. S. A. theatrical
Five years ago, under the watchful eye of the great god Krishna, a plane of Indians returning to the homeland exploded in Canadian skies. A mortal also named Krishna lost his family in that crash. In the present, this mortal Krishna has found himself a former heroin addict with a nebulous past, and has returned to his mother's family: an aunt who married a sari dealer. He becomes involved in their lives, as they deal with their cultural identity with a fawning Canada, eager to patronize their Indian subjects when convenient, but willing to be aggressive when they need to, as when Mr. Tikkoo wants to keep a rare stamp he found for his collection but which the Canadian authorities determine is of historical interest. In all of this, the mighty god Krishna moves, increasingly troubled by his lack of relevancy in this alien land.
From the Freer and Sackler Galleries Web site:
Puja: Expressions of Hindu Devotion introduces viewers to one of the
basic elements of Hinduism, the world's third-largest religion. In puja,
Hindus honor gods and goddesses through rituals focused on objects that
are believed to be filled with the divine being's spirit. On this
videotape American Hindus discus puja and what it means to them and
devotees offer food, water, and flowers during worship seeking to make a
spiritual connection with the gods.
The Traditional Performance of the Ramayana.
Shaman Hatley shows this in connection with: Linda Hess. "An Open-Air
Ramayana: Ramlila, the Audience Experience," pp. 115-139 in The Life of
Hinduism, eds. John Stratton Hawley and Vasudha Narayanan. Berkeley:
University of California Press, 2006.
"Religion in Hindu India"
Produced by Films in the Humanities and
Sciences. Michael Baltutis says he uses the Holi sections for his
classes on Krishna. From ritual ablutions to ceremonial
cremation, the religious life of a Hindu is intimately associated with
the spiritual properties of water and fire. This program steps off the
beaten path for a journey with two sadhus as they visit holy locales,
witness religious rites, and, in general, immerse themselves in Hindu
culture as it is exists in the religion's motherland, India. The
Festival of Shivaratri, in Benares, and the Festival of Holi, in
Mathura, are featured, along with devotional and secular activities in
Allahabad that follow the official conclusion of the Kumbh Mela.
Contains nudity associated with Nagas, male warrior
"Sadhus: India's Holy Men"
Films for the Humanities & Sciences,
1995). Three documentaries: Living with the Dead, The Living God, and
Lotan Baba The Rolling Saint. I break the trilogy up and use it across
three different courses, but they would certainly work well in a single
"Scientific Verification of Vedic Knowledge in Hinduism 1, 2, and 3"
Serpent Mother is about devotion to the
Goddess of Snakes and the importance of divine female power in West
Bengal Indian life. The film's focus is the Jhapan Festival, the great
celebration of snakes. Shown are festival preparations, the role of
traditional arts and crafts in the worship of the Goddess, devotional
singing, and an exposition of ritual action. The difficult and complex
symbolism of the ritual is explained by the participants themselves. In
addition to the commentary, this makes accessible what is, at first
glance, exotic and inexplicable behavior.
Regisseur: Ramesh Sippy
family is murdered by a notorious and ruthless bandit, a former police
officer enlists the services of two outlaws to capture him. Jim
Lochtefeld reports the film has a song/scene about Holi, and a bit about
188 minutes, but with several versions/running
"Sons of Shiva"
"Sons of Shiva" is a sustained attempt to film a
four-day ceremony concerned with the worship of Shiva. Devotees of the
God Shiva are shown from the initial taking of the Sacred Thread through
gradually intensifying action to a culmination in a variety of ascetic
and self denying practices. Devotees are also shown in informal
activities such as preparing food and listening to recitals of
devotional songs by the famous mendicant Bauls of Bengal.
"Vari - An Indian Pilgrimage"
"The Wages of Action, Religion in a Hindu village"
Regisseur: Deepa Mehta
examines the plight of a group of widows forced into poverty at a temple
in the holy city of Varanasi. It focuses on a relationship between one
of the widows, who wants to escape the social restrictions imposed on
widows, and a man who is from the highest caste and a follower of
Mahatma Gandhi. Mackenzie Brown uses it "in in conjunction with
TV documentary series by Louis Theroux
Episode about going to India in search of enlightenment.
Clips available on Youtube.