10 July 2008

Juggernaut DVD

Juggernaut a film by Rob Das, photography by Daan de Boer and funded by the Dutch Film Fund, is available through this site. The film filmed at Arunachala Karthikai Deepam and produced in Holland, is a high international quality DVD (lasting about 50 minutes).

“The Karthikai Deepam chariot festival is one of the most important Hindu festivals of the year. Annually thousands of devotees assemble in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, to take part in the many street ceremonies and to offer sacrifices to Shiva. The film Juggernaut observes these events from close range and so transports the viewer to an unfamiliar world. In a voice-over one of the pilgrims tells us about his life. He is a sadhu, a holy man, travelling from one temple to another, begging his way around the country. Following the death of his wife and daughter he left all his worldly possessions behind and now all he owns are the clothes on his back. But he is at peace with his ascetic existence. His faith, which is not restricted to a single God, is all he needs. He worships Jesus, Allah and Shiva equally, depending on the Temple he visits.

As the film starts the town appears calm. A man is washing himself at a well, a woman is sweeping her porch, the last licks of paint are applied to the colourful chariots. But the crowd quickly grows and before long the main street is a pulsating throng of people. The high point of the festival is when a towering chariot, a temple on wheels, is pulled through the town by hundreds of men and women, using enormous chains.

Using very few words, juggernaut respectfully portrays a town engulfed with religious devotion and dedication and shows the terrific power and energy released by communal rituals like these. It concludes with amazing close-up shots of the preparation of the Deepam Cauldron on the top of Arunachala and at dusk, amidst throngs of chanting devotees, its lighting.”

For ordering information of the Juggernaut DVD please go to this link

This is definitely the best quality DVD video of Karthikai Deepam which is currently available. The footage of the lighting of the cauldron is truly extraordinary - just like being there!

1 comment:

Colin Todhunter said...

I met Rob Das about ten years ago in Chennai and he gave me a DVD of this film. I still have it and it is truly amazing. The camera is 'up close and personal' among the crowds who don't seem to notice or care that it is there. A genuinely atmospheric film that captures the power and passion of this festival as the juggernaut is hauled through the street and the people ascend the mountain. I would go as far to say that I have not seen another film that captures the raw essence of India in the way this one does.