Vidhi Kasliwal, of Landmarc Films, brings to the table a real-life story, from one of the most ancient religions in India – Jainism, in the form of a biographical documentary based on Acharya Vidyasagar ji called ‘Vidyoday’.
Known both for his scholastic abilities and achievements and his ‘tapasya’, Acharya Vidyasagar is one of the most exalted Digambara Jain Munis (philosopher monks).
Interestingly, ‘Vidyoday’, a captivating documentary that chronicles the journey of Vidyasagar ji from his childhood to his monasticism and his elevation to Acharyahood (leadership), along with his teachings and his contributions there on to the Jain community and society as a whole has been showcased through Sand Art with great finesse and skill.
The visuals depicted by Sand, by renowned International Sand Artist Fatmir Mura, are not mere drawings, rather elaborate and emotional narratives that come alive by his nimble and skilful hand movements that come across like a graceful dance, perfectly synchronised to the music, leaving the viewers totally mesmerised and spellbound.
On introducing such an innovative artistic depiction of Acharya Vidyasagar’s life in this documentary, director Vidhi Kasliwal says, “I knew we’d have a challenge in depicting Acharya Shri’s childhood and early years. Right from the beginning, I was very clear that I did not want to cast actors to recreate the ‘flashbacks’. While researching about his life and works, I stumbled across his most celebrated literary gem, Muk Mati (The Silent Earth). This gave me an idea – why not use Sand Art for the pictorial representation of his life and journey. Thus began our search for the perfect artist who’d help us accomplish this daunting and elaborate mission. We finally narrowed it down to Fatmir, who lived all the way in Florence, Italy. And we took on this herculean task with a huge amount of homework, commitment and preparation on both sides which took over 2 years to complete. This association of ours has been a very enriching experience, transcending the barriers of geography, language, time difference, culture and tradition. And now that the final film is in front of us, all the hard work and pain seems so worthwhile.”
Fatmir, who so skilfully has been successful in recreating all the sequences of Vidyasagar ji’s life says, “It was very far from my vision, an enormous commitment and practically unthinkable. But as if by magic, one day someone on the other side of the world thought of the impossible, studied it and was ready to make it happen. I am very happy and honoured to have worked on this film with Vidhi and Landmarc Films. Making this film was an artistic experience more profound than anything I have done in the past. I had the opportunity to visit their studios in Mumbai and personally meet the entire team and I must say that I was overwhelmed by their courtesy and kindness. It is certainly a group of people very passionate about their work that operates with extreme professionalism. Thanks to this collaboration I learned the traditions, customs and many wonderful aspects of Indian culture. This film gave me an opportunity for professional and even spiritual growth.”
‘Vidyoday’ also enlightens us upon the various facets of Jainism as a philosophy, the frugal yet fulfilling lives of Digambara Jain Monks, their main teachings and principles, such as respecting the life of all species and ‘ahimsa’ (non-violence).