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I am batting for environment – are you? : Michelle Yeoh

Special Correspondent
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Malaysian actor Michelle Yeoh and Bollywood star of yesteryears Asha Parekh at the 44th International Film Festival of India
Malaysian actor Michelle Yeoh and Bollywood star of yesteryears Asha Parekh at the 44th International Film Festival of India

Michelle Yeoh, Malaysian actress who was the chief guest at the closing ceremony of the 44th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2013 on Saturday evening, earlier in the day urged everyone to be more responsive towards the environment.

Speaking at a press conference at the IFFI venue, Ms. Yeoh, who was making her second visit to the IIFI, spoke about her film Padyatra – A Green Odyssey.

“The film attempts to capture your mind, and bring about a perceivable change in the way we respond towards nature. I am batting for the environment – are you?” she asked.

Fighting illness, injuries, and starvation at altitudes above 17,000 feet, the story of Pad Yatra – A Green Odyssey is told through the perils and adventures the trekkers face as they struggle through the most treacherous terrain on the planet.

Michelle was accompanied by her spiritual master ‘the Gyalwang Drukpa’ who is the spiritual head of Drukpa Buddhists, and it is the padyatra (walking pilgrimage) led by this great master that the film is based on.

The film which was screened on November 29, penultimate day of the IFFI 2013, with Michelle Yeoh as Executive Producer, captures the adventure of 700 people trekking across the Himalayas, sometimes in sub-zero temperatures with a call to save the planet's “3rd Pole,” a glacial region now devastated by the climate chaos associated with global warming. The trek was made even more hazardous by rock slides and a freak snowstorm.

“The Padyatra is a call for action. Let us stop talking, and let us all take small step towards a sustainable environmental practices. It was but a small step that landed mankind on the moon, and it’s steps like these that will ensure that we leave a greener and cleaner environment for future generations,” said Gyalwang Drukpa about Pada Yatra.

Gyalwang Drukpa, one of the main Buddhist spiritual leaders of the Himalayas, said there was a need to conserve ecological resources of the Himalayas against the rampant exploitation and pollution for generations to come. He said Himalayan water bodies were polluted with plastics. Plastics contained toxins that polluted the streams. He said, through the film ‘Pad Yatra – A Green Odyssey’, and by walking in the Himalayas, we tried to connect with nature. To build a relationship with nature, we need to walk in order to connect with the elements of nature, he added.

He said there was a need to live harmoniously with nature and spread the idea of live to love. He said to educate the inhabitants of the Himalayas he had decided to undertake such Pad Yatras annually in the Himalayas. Being a leader of the region, he had been termed the ‘water protector’ or the ‘Himalayan Guardian’.

Talking about empowerment of women, he said women were inherently empowered by God. Men should only make way and allow women to contribute and meet their potential. He also talked about how some nuns had been trained in Kung Fu. He was proud that Kung Fu had its origin in India.

Beyond its theatrical, festival, and special screenings, we hope that it will find a place on television, presumably on the Public Broadcasting Service, where it most certainly will find a sizeable audience, and catalyse far-reaching action and resultant positive impact on the environment, hoped Ms. Yeoh.


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