The GANGA in Brazil

“At one point, during my spiritual quest in Varanasi, I felt the Ganga breathing, just as we do. She is a real being. Nowhere in the world is a river worshipped like her. She goes beyond faith,” says Ananda Jyothi (also known as Jyothibai) whose film Uma, light of the Himalaya, tells the story of three Brazilians on a spiritual journey down the sacred river.

The film will be released commercially in seven cities in Brazil on November 22 and screened at the IFFI (November 24) in the World Premier Section in Goa.

The GANGA in Brazil

For Ananda, who lives in Ooramana near Kochi, the film’s release is a dream come true. Drawn to the Himalayas at the age of 21, he trekked the isolated terrains in search of the meaning of life. He says a holy man, whom he met during the journey, guided him to learn music from a guru in Varanasi, where he had his first close encounter with the river. This changed the course of his life. He began to delve deeper into Indian philosophy.

Ananda Jyothi began travelling to study the Upanishads and vision in Narayana Guru’s wisdom and poetry, first under Swami Vinaya Chaitanya and Ma Shakunthala Chaitanya at a gurukulam in Bengaluru. Later he studied the Atharva Veda under Sridhar ADI at Gokarna. After speaking at a Sufi World Peace Conference in London in 1994, he travelled across Europe for a year, before studying Comparative Philosophy in Greece in 1997-98. He also made a documentary on the Kumbh Mela for Greece TV.

In 1999, Ananda Jyothi travelled to Brazil and began making documentaries on Indian culture for Brazilian TV after he returned to India in 2004. In 2011, he curated a festival of Indian films in Brazil and introduce

The GANGA in Brazil
d parallel Indian cinema to that country. “I introduced many Indian film makers—Adoor Goplakrishnan, TV Chandran, Shaji N Karun and many seminal Indian movies such as Priyadarshan’s Kancheepuram. Adoor has become a legend there.”

This opened a space for Indian cinema in South America and Brazil’s postal department released two stamps on Indian cinema to commemorate 100 years of Indian cinema in 2014 . Subsequently he curated ‘Devi’ a contemporary Indian women film festival in Brazil.

All through this time, his connection with Kerala and India remained and he worked for local media houses in India, on the Olympics and on the production of Mundrothuruthu, for Manu P Solomon.

Cinema with purpose

Ananda Jyothi had been thinking about the idea of Uma… but was not sure of how to go about it.“I was seeing too much commercialisation in films, and always wanted to make cinema with a purpose. A story must educate and entertain,” he says.

The three protagonists of the film are not actors but people he met in Brazil. Jonnas Masetti is an engineer who studied the Vedas and Sanskrit. He runs Vishav Vidyala in Rio De Janeiro. Isabella Pitaki, a psychiatrist who had a dream about India and wished to come while Juliana Fiuza, an advocate, was attracted to Indian philosophy. “All three were seeking the meaning of life and this journey would guide them in that, they talk about their professional lives before and after experiencing the Ganga,” says Anand Jyothi.

The GANGA in Brazil

The film traces the course of the river from it’s origin in Gomukh in the glacier Gangotri, through Badrinath, Benaras and Kolkata. Renowned cinematographer Manilal Padavoor and editor and Pinto Varkey who has a long association with Brazil also worked on the film.

“I call the film a visual pilgrimage,” says Anand Jyothi recalling that it was made in 2017 but the Kerala floods delayed the post-production work. “My house was under 10 feet of water during the 2018 floods. I had to start again,” adding that the delay has come as a blessing. The film has been selected for a world audience in Goa and gets a commercial release in Brazil.“I am happy it was made. The time and money we invested has come as a reward. The movie has mystery and the river showed its way to reach to reach the sea.”

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 4:05:38 PM |

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