Banaraspun (Being Banarasi)

by Alind Jaitly

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About the project :

Banaraspun is a passion project for Director Alind Jaitly. The city of Benaras is very close to his heart, as it resonates with the contrast of Human existence. 
The total budget for this film is Rupees Seventy Lakhs. He has spent about Rs.Twenty Lakhs on the first part of the production with the financial help of friends and family, and now he is looking to raise funding to complete the film. 

About the project 
Humanity from ancient civilizations to the present day has perhaps explored all possible scientific avenues and philosophical ways of thought. Within the Indian culture, forms such as the Vedas and the Vedanta express Hindu philosophy and are regarded as the seminal texts of the ‘Sanathan Dharm’ – Hindus.

Banaras (most ancient 'living' city in the world) has been the epicenter of arts, philosophy, spiritual consciousness, 'mukti' and 'moksha' (eternal bliss). 
On the other hand, Banaras is also the fountainhead of 'mauj-masti' (fun and enjoyment) of the physical world.
This film on 'Banaras' would explore and embrace this duality of existence with all its 'mauj-masti' and the search for 'moksha'.

About the film
In order to express this duality of existence through visuals, I feel that there can be no better place in the world than Benaras, which reflects this confluence. I will shoot the film in the “ancient city of Kashi” (Varanasi/Benaras, Uttar Pradesh, India) using the physicality and visuals of the city itself as a via media to express my explorations, experiences and realisations of Life and Death!  

The subject of my film is the notion of identity, life and 'Brahm' (Supreme Energy) and the film would primarily focus on the understanding and experience of the concept of “moksha”.
I firmly believe in the ‘Benarasi’ tradition ( Banaraspun ) wherein spirituality is the color in which peoples’ daily lifestyles and attitudes are immersed.  A knowledge/awareness of the transience of our existence - “Maya” (Illusion) underpins the philosophy of the Banarasi, that advocates living in the moment, without an overwhelming urge to hoard for the future.  
With this view, one can relish and enjoy life like a game, whilst remaining somewhat detached from the delusion of “ the permanence of life”.  


Paradoxically, or perhaps for this very reason, the Benarasi people delight in immersing themselves in the pleasures / joys of the material world with equal fervour.  It is only in Benaras, where the processes of almost every aspect of daily life, have been evolved into an art and celebration of existence.  Therefore, this film would have sequences showing the ‘mauj-masti’ (fun and frolic) of the Benarasi people, including markets, Ghats on the River Ganges, making of ‘mithai’ (sweets), ‘lassi’ (yoghurt based drink), wrestling etc. 

The structure of the film would be synchronous to the content with intercuts between designed image making (visual montages), the people of Benaras (sweet makers, intellectuals, artisans, musicians, artists, ascetics, paan shop owners, etc.) and the material/physical stuff of life (transformational processes wherein “lifeless” material is shaped into a form (the making of a “Kadai” (iron wok), the weaving of a saree, preparation of “mithai” (sweets) and snacks, the “tana-bana” (machine loom).

The film would encompass the folk and classical music of the region.
The film would also have narrations of many famous/not-so-famous “kissas” (anecdotes/stories), dohas (couplets) and muhavaras (sayings) as told by the artists, intellectuals, academicians and the common people of Benaras.

About The Director -
Alind Jaitly is an independent film-maker having graduated ( Diploma in Cinema ) from the Government of India's Film and Television Institute of India,Pune ( FTII ). 
Alind has an independent production company called Yavanika Films. He has made several films - short fiction,documentaries,docu-drama etc. for various organisations like Indian / International NGOs , Government of India via Ministries, Prasar Bharati ( Doordarshan ) etc. on diverse subjects and ideas.
He makes films which allow us to express meaningful content with sensitivity, and express ideas and story using 'form' ( the style in craft and cinematic visuals ) to enhance the connect.

Along with making films Alind Jaitly also facilitates Film-making / Film appreciation workshops for Adults and Children in any City chosen by Organisations / Corporates and / or by groups of interested individuals.

Scriptwriter and Partner -
Vaishali Bisht is the script writer and partner at Yavanika Films and has written several documentary and fiction film scripts since 2000. Having graduated from the University of Kent in Canterbury, England in Theatre and Drama studies ( 1996 ), Vaishali has written, directed and produced numerous plays. Her vast and eclectic experience in the field of Theatre has earned her a position as Guest Faculty in Theatre Arts Department of Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad

Risks and Challenges :

There is no risk as we have already finished one schedule of the shooting, and would complete the film within eight months of receiving the balance funds.

This film idea has been submitted and registered appropriately and all copyright/s are with us, Alind Jaitly, Yavanika Films.

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