Jagdish Bharti on his newest experimental musical film.
In India religion in its all dimensions and diversities is the very base of life. Recently, when the corona pandemic spread all over the world, death came crawling everywhere… no country, no town and no neighborhood escaped its impact.
Since the Indian psyche is deeply rooted in religious belief, it is natural that most Indians seek refuge in various religious practices, along with whatever medical help comes their way.
When the pandemic effects became milder, the age-old traditional Kumbh Mela, the traditional gathering of various Hindu sects on the bank of the River Ganga at the holy city of Haridwar, was resumed.
‘Rakesh’, with no experience of filmmaking, decided on a whim to make a documentary on the theme of the River Ganga and the Kumbh Mela. He got hold of an amateur cameraman, ‘Siddartha’, and started to shoot, without a story line, a written script, or a plot.
The theme of the musical film is: how a story is born, frame by frame, and characters come into being, and how the making of the documentary spiritually transforms the makers as well as the various characters, each in their own way.
It was a very unusual experience to write and build a film, moment to moment as the shooting progressed. All actors were non-professionals and faced the camera for the first time, with the exception of the character ‘Dhuni Baba’, who is a professional actor.
Everybody enjoyed this game of blissful revelation in our journey of making the film! We shot it between the first and the second corona wave that engulfed India.
It was all very uncertain as the Indian authorities were wavering about whether or not to cancel the mega event. But we managed to take some memorable shots of the Kumbh Mela just before it was disbanded.
Inspired by Osho’s vision, we experimented with working playfully and spontaneously. The young ones in the group enjoyed and celebrated this whole new experience. At the end of the shooting everyone left with tears in their eyes and overflowing love in their hearts. Amazingly, there were no ego clashes along the way! And the best thing was, we managed to pull off the feat within a minimum budget.
We will release the film in cinemas in October, and after that it will be available on OTT streaming platforms and other media.
Jagdish Bharti (Writer Director)
(Jagdish Bharti is the creator of the acclaimed film, The Rebellious Flower)