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More About the AM Movie

Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 23:18:24 -0500 To: Subject: More About the AM Movie From: CJ Phillips Baba "Esecho, tumi esecho, bhuvan bhariya' esecho..." (PS 3289) Purport: Baba, by Your divine grace, You have come. You have come, with Your effulgent presence this world has been filled with bliss. By Your arrival everyone's pains, agonies and tortures have vanished. You have brought effulgence along with You. Now, by Your causeless grace, no one will remain in the dark any longer. You are expressing Yourself through the action, knowledge, dhyana, and sadhana. You are the ocean of love & compassion. Baba You are ever-gracious, blessing one and all. Everyone is dancing in ecstasy. It is Your divine grace. Baba, You have come. The whole world is getting transformed-- all are floating in Your bliss...
Namaskar, I again saw the year-old AM pracar movie-- "Kiirtan Mahima"-- and would like to share some thoughts and reflections.
Firstly, before getting going, may we all remember that our viewpoint on any social topic or pracar endeavour etc should be according to the standard of our AM ideology. Because we are Ananda Margiis, so our basis of judgment is always according to Baba's divine teachings. He is our Polestar & His philosophy is our measuring rod, not anything else. So the pracar film-- Kiirtan Mahima'-- should NOT be measured in comparison to the "usual norms" presented by today's cinema industry. That would not have any sense or value. Because we know Hollywood, Bollywood, & Cannes (France) represent the unseemly ways of pseudo-culture. From fake smiles to outright materialism, from the objectification of women to the height of superficiality, today's film industry is riddled with the cheesy ways of crude pop-culture. Needless to say, that is not our baseline or standard-- not at all. Rather the neo-humanistic themes of AM stand as our measuring rod. However, if anyone has become totally habituated & blind to the ways of pseudo-culture-- such that they think everything on the silver screen is prim and proper & 100% a-ok, then surely they will disagree with and automatically object to any ideological film review. That much is sure. Whereas those seeing through the rational vision of Ananda Marga philosophy will certainly have something meaningful to add to this conversation-- indeed your thoughts will only enhance this discussion. Baba says, "You have the measuring rod, the touch-stone, in your hands; you can judge for yourselves." (NH-LOI: Disc 10)
Secondly, I agree cent-per-cent with the earlier letter on this topic ("AM Movie: Still on the Silver Screen" posted 8/31) that details how the so-called pracar film is laced with sexual overtones and sensual innuendos. Tragically that is rampant from beginning to end. And I am sure in future, others will write more on this most serious matter since our AM films should be wholly devoid of such crude material. And given the highly objectionable & pervasive use of sexual body movements in this so-called AM pracar film, it may take "some more reminding" for our AM filmmakers to get the point set in their minds. So let all margiis be encouraged to keep this aspect of the dialogue active & alive.
Here in this letter the chief point revolves around the projection of one's own image & self-glorification done by the actors and filmmakers etc. Or more precisely, the Hollywood style of getting in front of the camera at any cost. Because for dedicated Ananda Margiis, the whole reason for making such a film is for the propagation of AM ideals and AM teachings-- for projecting the Divine, i.e. Baba. Yet the entire way in which this new pracara movie was made undermines this aim. Because throughout the movie, all the so-called actors & actresses only strut around to show themselves-- not the values of AM. And by this way all prama' is lost. The film loses all its integrity.
Here is an example of but one of the innumerable times that all naturalness utterly slips away from the movie due to the imposition of artificial Hollywood type of acting. At the 7min 46sec mark, our fake avadhuta embarks on a wispy soliloquy where he walks away from the person he is talking to and just starts giving one grand lecture out into the heavens. In that venture, he turns himself 100% towards the camera and starts heroically waving his arms and delivers his grandiose speech, all the while moving closer and closer to the camera. So this whole scene is totally ridiculous. Because in our Marga, nobody behaves in such a silly, superficial, and foolish way. Rather we aim to highlight Baba's image-- not our own. But here the avadhuta is only involved in self-propagation-- it is quite apparent by the whole tone of the scene. And with regards to proper human communication, Baba specifically guides us that we are to face towards the person with whom we are speaking. We may look them in the eye or not depending, but never should one start walking away from the person they are talking to and start giving such a high-sounding theatrical sermon. This is not how one is to behave in AM. Yet that is exactly what our fake avadhuta does in this very scene. And this silly type of display, and others like it, makes the new "pracar" movie-- Kiirtan Mahima'-- look like the makers are just chasing after Hollywood, instead of trying to project AM ideals and represent Baba. That is what the common public is bound to think. Because that is what they are seeing on the screen. It is all plain as day. Reason being the inept filmmakers & so-called stars are more interested in showing off & highlighting their own faces than sincerely propagating the message of AM. Thus in the wake of their self-centered dealing, Baba's eternal teachings are nothing but an afterthought at best. Baba says, "They...ultimately ended up projecting themselves instead of the ideology. Thus, the ideology became secondary and was ultimately swept away." (PNS-21) And really, this does not happen just once, but the whole, entire AM movie is stained with this type of false display & cheap acting. Where the actors & actresses just revert into the self-glorified ways of Hollywood etc. And this just makes it look like we do not give a hoot about our philosophy, all because those stars are just using this film as an opportunity to glorify themselves.
Once again, if anyone reading this letter is some kind of Hollywood DVD addict or a drunken victim of pseudo-culture etc, then they may say, 'What is wrong-- this is the way films are made, our new pracar movie is wonderful' etc. But anyone who is a true sadhaka and mentally involved with AM ideology will surely understand how this film lost its prama' and just got sunk in fake and superficial displays. Indeed this feeling will automatically come into their heart.
At the same time none should think that it is impossible to make a truly good film. Rather, there are any number of high-quality, well-made films in the general society made by public broadcasting systems or various educational societies etc. And once in a blue moon even the-powers-that-be in Hollywood can make a halfway meaningful film. And the mark of all such films, particularly documentaries, is that the message put forth is not sacrificed or undermined or overshadowed by the cheap desire of the actors to display themselves. Rather with a pointed effort the vibration of their message shines forth at every turn. In that case, the film has some value and achieves its goal. So from the beginning there was ample scope for the new AM pracar movie to be a grand success. It could have been done in a high-minded, sentient way. It could have really been great. It is not that all movies are automatically garbage. Rather Baba wants that we should make sentient films that carry the spirited message of AM. And we had such an opportunity here and still do the next time around. Unfortunately, the new pracar movie fails miserably. Because the filmmakers and stars are just trying to soak their faces in front of the camera. And in the superficial rush for fame, the message of AM is lost.
Towards the end of the film, at the 40-minute mark, there begins a several minute span where the film reaches its climax. But throughout this section also, the chosen stars-- the glitzy father and the sensual mother-- are just hooked on putting themselves in lights. No one can think that they are doing their job properly. Just they are trying to highlight their image on the silver screen. Because the scene is supposed to be serious and then deeply devotional etc, but instead it is just an embarrassment. Because the stars just marvel at themselves in front of the camera. That is their only dream. And the whole movie sputters in this way. Filled with fake smiles and rosy cheeks that betray any deeper meaning.
However, it must be said that the police chief has done an admirable job in this film. He remains pointed in his role and one can believe his character. Because he aims to do justice to the message of the movie rather than highlight his own image. Anyone who watches the film will pick up on this immediately. So it is not that everyone in the film is garbage. The police chief is playing out his role well-- though everyone else gives an awful performance, especially the fake avadhuta and the sexy heroine. Their acting just gives off a stench of superficiality. Whereas the police chief does an admirable job given the circumstances.
Leaving aside the acting momentarily, it has to be said that the film totally fails to convey an iota of truth about AM ideology. Two of the more far-fetched attempts are (#1) the very wrong way kiirtan is explained and (#2) the way in which the lead actors are just like dogmatic religious worshippers. (#1) The film states that without kiirtan Parama Purusa becomes just stuck in the heavens and is unable to come close to His devotees. This is the essence of what the film states. But that is utterly nonsense. Because Parama Purusa resides eternally in our hearts and by kiirtan devotees are able to realise this divine truth. It is not that without kiirtan Parama Purusa is stuck with bag and baggage in some remote corner of the universe. After all, He is Parama Purusa and He can do anything and everything. It is not that He is a victim of His own creation and stuck in some far away land if kiirtan is not sung. But this is the false idea that the new AM movie projects. (#2) Secondly, at the 42'36'' mark of the film, when the glitzy father and sensual mother begin praying to Baba, they engage in a totally dogmatic display of using external paraphernalia to communicate with Baba. They walk around and wail and cross their hands etc as if they are dogmatic Hindus and Christians. As if ours is some ritualistic approach. When really as sadhakas we see and feel Baba within, not in some crude external way. But that is what the film portrays. Really more should be written about both these points. Suffice to say here that on the ideological plane, the film is a ZERO. Rather it is harmful as it projects harmful and dogmatic teachings which will sit in the minds of the viewers. So this will all need to be corrected-- fast. Otherwise these dogmatic displays will permanently stain the society.
Perhaps the scene that says it all with regards to self-glorification comes at the 08'39" mark. The fake avadhuta is bragging about his greatness and how he will change the world and then the sexy heroine wishes the fake avadhuta success and the fake avadhuta replies, "Thank you". He does not say, "Baba's grace, or with the grace of Baba, or Guru's grace." Just he says, "Thank you". As if he is deserving of thanks and the compliment. Such is the superficial type of dialogue that happens throughout the film. Because if truth be known, in real life the ideal of our avadhutas really is something great. Because they are ready to do each and everything for Baba and they realise that actually Baba's blessing is what allows them to serve Him. Baba says, "...Remember also that the credit of service is not yours; it is due to the Supreme and the Supreme alone, whose ideation has inspired you to acquire the capability of rendering service." (A'nanda Va'nii #23) But in the new AM movie, our fake avadhuta totally forgets this divine truth and when praised for his so-called greatness & wished success in his mission, then he admiringly smiles and says, "Thank you". Such is the type of self-glorification that goes on and on throughout the film. That is why the new AM movie fails to carry even an iota of AM beliefs and practices.
Hence in countless avenues, this new AM movie-- "Kiirtan Mahima"-- is a total bomb. Really I do not know what else to call it. It is superficial characterization of life in AM that puts forth dogmatic notions and is full of blunders from beginning to end. It is an embarrassment to what our Marga really is and will be. At the same time, with proper effort and zeal we should view this as a way to move ahead and create a truly sentient film that really does capture the spirit and dynamism of our Marga. Because our pracara should make maximum use of today's modern media.
By Baba's grace in the near future we really will create a top-notch film that nicely propagates AM ideals to the people and highlights Baba's divine glory. Baba says, "Giving experienced and competent directors the opportunity and the complete freedom to make benevolent cinema does not yield bad results. Rather it can spread joy and education simultaneously." (PNS-10) Namaskar, Cinmay
In addition to the above noted points about the wrong explanation of Kiirtan and the dogmatic display of worship, here are some of the other ideological blunders which occur in this film: > There are a whole slew of dogmas that are unleashed throughout > this new AM film. Such as: > > (a) Wrong way of doing Guru Sakash; > (b) Improper namaskar and incorrect explanation; > (c) Mispronunciation of Guru Puja; > (d) Wrong selection of song for Paincajanya which goes > against the sanctity of Ista; > (e) Misleading & dogmatic idea of how Baba's grace works; > (f) And there are so many other ideological errors. > So these are all things to watch for. Because really this film should be > set aside in the dustbin and all such errors should never repeated again as > they give a false and improper teaching of AM ideas and values. That is > what many are telling about the film.
Here it should be noted that Baba gives free reign to one and all to evaluate all works of art-- including our AM pracar movies. Baba says, "All have the right to criticize artists or their art: the artists who do not like criticism have no future." (PNS-10) Indeed, by paying heed to constructive criticism is how art is improved. We should all learn from Baba's teaching.
*************************************** Three Dangers
Baba says, "We may say that intoxicants have three distinct characteristics. Firstly, if one addict does not receive that intoxicant at their regular, fixed time during the day then they will become anxious and restless-- even agitated. In addition, when they do get it then their mind will not like to involve in any work. The second major point is that as long as one remains under the spell of that intoxicant, his intellect will be dysfunctional. And if one continues to take intoxicants on a regular, on-going basis, then their mental stupor will continue on and on. The third major danger is that intoxicants adversely affect the liver, throat, and kidney. And in the majority of cases, the user suffers from constipation also. In conclusion, all intoxicants are bad; opium and ganja (cannabis indica) extremely harmful." (SC-15) Note: As A'nanda Ma'rgiis, our duty is to propagate Baba's above teaching
and warn others about the harmful effects of intoxicants. ***************************************

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