Noted filmmaker Benoy K Behl is all set to release his 52-minute documentary, Yoga for Health and Global Harmony internationally. It captures the poetic grace of yoga in the lap of nature across 26 cities/regions across 11 countries, including India, USA, Germany, Bahamas, Costa Rica, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Vietnam, China and Japan.
Also in the making is a large-format book, titled Yoga: India’s Gift to the World.A quick chat with Behl on these two yoga-related projects:
Tell us more about Yoga for Health and Global Harmony.
The documentary has interviews with medical practitioners who speak in objective and scientific terms about the positive benefits of yoga, leading exponents of yoga as well as with academicians and students of yoga. A wonderful blend of visual delight and factual information.
You travelled to 26 cities/ regions across 11 countries to shoot this documentary. How different or similar is the practice of yoga at these locations? Please elaborate.
My Associate Director Sujata Chatterji and I have concentrated on covering the classic form of yoga, which is essentially the same everywhere.
India is the birthplace of yoga, and much of the shooting was done here. We also shot in the US, where yoga is extremely popular. The film has beautiful shots of asanas in Bahamas and Costa Rica. In Colombia and Brazil, yoga is proving extremely useful in long-term violent and conflict-hit areas. Here, yoga is proving useful even in jails and juvenile reform homes.
In Japan, China and Vietnam, yoga is proving extremely valuable in the search for peace, amid the noise and clamour of the modern material world.
What sets your documentary apart from the others in the market?
This film is about the true meaning of yoga and how this ancient science is relevant and very useful in modern times. On the one hand, it covers four continents of the world and on the other, the vision of the film is informed by the filmmaker’s 43 years of the study of Indian art and the philosophy which underlies it. This film sees yoga as an integral part of the Indian vision and science of life.
What aspects do you concentrate on while shooting a documentary?
I enjoy the aesthetics of a subject the most. In the case of yoga, there’s a sublime grace which is the most striking aspect. In shooting these fluid expressions of the human body, I have sought to combine them with the ecstatic beauty of nature. The asanas were shot mainly at sunrise and with the play of light from behind and around the human figure. Simultaneously, my focus has also been on the depth of intellectual content behind the science of yoga. Therefore, doctors from around the world were met and interviewed.
Tell us more about the large format book, Yoga: India’s Gift to The World.
It will have over 150 spectacular photographs of yogasanas demonstrated by some of the finest world practitioners. The backgrounds against which yoga has been photographed include mountains, seas, waterfalls, lakes, flowers and gardens, in India, USA, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Bahamas, Vietnam, China and Japan. I expect this to be a visual treat and my most beautiful book till today. The book will have photographs of elderly persons doing yoga as well as yoga being taught in a women’s prison in Brazil and in a juvenile reform facility in Colombia.