‘Osho, 1000 Shades of Ocean’, already in the first stages of filming, is the latest project of Italian filmmaker Lakshen. Punya’s account after meeting with him.
This summer I met Lakshen twice. First when he came for a short holiday and we discussed his new film project – at the time not even with a working title. The second time only for a brief encounter because he was already busy filming some of the regular visitors to Corfu. These were on his list: Miten, Deva, Joshua, Avesh, Lani and Turiya.
Meeting in a coffee shop I saw on his laptop the rough cut of what he had already shot. As soon as he received his first sponsorship he immediately jumped into work with his crew he had on the ready. He interviewed Radha, Majid and Sarjano in Italy, and Anubuddha, Ramateertha, Devageet and others in Germany. The filming was neat and clean, of course professional, the interviews underlaid by archive material that illustrated what was spoken about. The switching between interviews and archive shots was harmonious, skilful and original in all places, I thought. I was impressed by the result, considering that it was just a rough sample put together quickly by his technicians to show what the end result could be. At the end of the year he will fly with his crew to India making more interviews and shooting in Osho’s native places. He stressed that it is important for him not only to talk about the past but to answer the question, ‘What is Osho today?’
Much of the archive material has been in his hands for years when he collected it for his first project, ‘Osho – the Movie’ of which I read the script, saw the storyboard and followed its fate quite closely; so many opportunities of financing ‘almost there’, meeting actors, great names in Hollywood and Bollywood, everyone seemed thrilled by the idea of making a film about Osho, but… Some nerve-wrecking years! (He’s put the project on the back burner for now but it’s not forgotten!)
When I first heard that Lakshen wanted to interview sannyasins and record their story I was over the moon. Manik Reuters, who had been organising Osho Film Festivals in Europe over a decade ago, had the idea to interview on film sannyasins who had met Osho in person “before we would all pop our clogs.” But when he did not get the necessary funds to travel and film he gave it up. Since then I had in mind that someone had to do this. So much so that last year I bought a video camera and started taking interviews with it, but the technical challenges were too many and time-consuming to solve while working at the same time on the online magazine. This just to explain how overjoyed I was to hear Lakshen not only talk about such a project, but actually doing it!
“Today, documentaries have more space in the market than before. Some of them can even reach a distribution in cinemas, besides in TV,” Lakshen confirmed, in case I had any doubts such a film could reach a wide audience. “A few years ago, there was ‘Awake’, a film about the life of Yogananda that was very well received and, more recently, a film called ‘Walk With Me‘ about the work of the contemporary Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, that has been very successful. Undoubtedly there is a growing interest for films with spiritual subjects.
“My documentary will show the entire perspective of Osho’s work and I will try to also interview high profile personalities who have actively sought out Osho’s words and teachings, like Tom Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, Lady Gaga and Gisele Bundchen. It will be the largest collection of interviews ever made about Osho and will also include some ‘critic opinions’ in order not to make it appear as a propaganda clip. The aim is to create a film that will resonate with audiences around the world including, but going beyond, sannyasins and friends of Osho.
I am not so very keen on the title he suggested when we met the second time, because it is not rolling well on my tongue, but (at least for now) it is ‘Osho, 1000 Shades of Ocean’. Lakshen says that the title came to him a few months ago when he read the tribute article for Vinod Bharti by famous Indian journalist Shobhaa Dee. She wrote about Osho who “insisted on his followers wearing 50 shades of orange.” She was, of course, making a pun on ’50 Shades of Grey’, and the sequels of various ‘colours’ that were adapted to film.
“I liked the tone of the article; it was very sweet and I appreciated the connection between a known title that can work for the public. I remember when Pune 1 was over and somebody made T-shirts with ‘Last Mango in Pune’ printed on them that referred to the film ‘Last Tango in Paris’ by Bertolucci. I changed the number from 50 to 1000 hinting to the thousands of stories that can be told about Osho… and instead of a colour I took the word Ocean that reminds me of his vastness and infinity.”
If you wish to contact Lakshen you can write to him on firstname.lastname@example.org
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