Following on the heels of its success in New Delhi in April-May 2012, the Buddhist Film Festival “The Inner Path”, presented by NETPAC and Devki Foundation, moved to Pune and created a ripple of excitement in the city. Organised by the Pune International Centre (PIC) in collaboration once again with NETPAC, Devki Foundation and this time with the National Film Archive of India (NFAI), the Festival showcased ten films - features and documentaries - on Buddhist themes from among those shown in New Delhi.
An exhibition of ancient Buddhist texts from different Asian countries – taken from the archives of the Pune-based Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) – was also held at NFAI concurrently with the festival. BORI, with which PIC collaborated, has a played a significant role in Oriental research and boasts of a vast collection of books and manuscripts in several regional and classical languages. The exhibition at NFAI presented Tripitakas (the thoughts of the Buddha) in various languages – Pali, Tibetan, Korean, Japanese Chinese, Sinhala, Burmese and Thai, as well as Mahayana Buddhist texts in Sanskrit. The exhibition attracted many interested and curious and interested members of the audience.
As a first-ever festival on the theme of Buddhism, the festival was ~~an uncommon experience for Pune film lovers in terms of the themes and experiences the films explored. The NFAI auditorium was packed for all the shows, with people trooping in much in advance of the screening times. Many were genuinely moved by relevance, diversity and thoughtfulness of, and the sensitive approach to, the subjects tackled by the directors.
The opening film, Khyentse Norbu’s Travellers and Magicians enthralled viewers with its gentleness as it wove together dream, hallucination and adventure. Other films screened were Milarepa, Amongst White Clouds, Introspection, Brilliant Moon, Come, Come,Come Upwards, A Buddha, Shugendo Now, The Sandstorm and Light of Asia. The last film, made in 1926, was not part of the Delhi programme. Taken from NFAI’s archives, this silent work directed by Himansu Rai and Franz Osten is a landmark in the history of Indian Cinema. It was the first instance of an international co-production between Great Eastern Film Corporation and Emelka of Germany and the film was processed there. It was also the first Indian film to be shown abroad commercially.
The festival was inaugurated by veteran actor Kabir Bedi in the presence of Aruna Vasudev, Suresh Jindal, NFAI Director Prashant Pathrabe and BORI Director Arun Barve. Bedi, who has a close connection with Buddhism because of his mother Freda Bedi who became a Buddhist, described his days as a young novice in Burma, and said that he followed the teachings of Buddhism in his daily life.
by NETPAC Bureau