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'Mystic India' Wins 'The Audience's Choice Prize'
at the 10th International Large Format Film Festival

31 January 2005, La Geode, Paris, France

Mystic India: an Incredible Journey of Inspiration is a new film that has recently been released at giant screen theaters worldwide. The world's first giant screen epic on India Mystic India rediscovers India, a land of many mysteries and fascinations, “the one land that all desire to see” as summarized by Mark Twain. A period film that reveals India’s ancient culture and civilization, intricate architecture, colorful festivals and fascinating peoples and landscapes. More than a traditional large format film, Mystic India tells a true story as great as the country it is set in. The film follows the 11-year-old Neelkanth Varni, who walked barefoot and barebody, for 7 years and 8,000 miles across the length and breadth of this vast majestic land.

Mystic India is produced by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. The film is created by a unique voluntary effort to promote cultural co-existence, human harmony and universal values. Over 570 BAPS volunteers provided free professional services of one million honorary hours to produce this unique film. It is narrated by Sir Peter O’Toole, the legendary English actor, honored with Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement. Photographed by Kodak Vision Award winning photographer Reed Smoot and directed by the well-known and respected Keith Melton, Mystic India travels throughout the country exploring the mysteries and fascinations of the land and the culture. The film is distributed by Giant Screen Films.

Home to the oldest civilization, India is our world’s largest democracy. India is a single nation as large as all of Europe with a population that comprises one-sixth of the world. The film explores India’s geographic and cultural diversity, soars over the natural beauty of its land from the breathtaking Himalayas to the sacred waters of the Ganges. It also celebrates its amazing architecture, spectacular festivals, colorful customs and spiritual wonders.

More than 45,000 BAPS volunteers helped recreate authentic scenes for the film. The fascinating festivals seen in Mystic India are among the largest and most spectacular in the world. The epic proportions of the film climax in the 2500-year-old Festival of Chariots – Rath Yatra. Colossal, 5-storey high chariots on mammoth wheels roll past massive crowds from all corners of India. Describing the experience as immense and intense, The Director of Photography, Reed Smoot who has shot 27 lage format - giant screen films exclaims, “ Nothing like this has been shot in large format before. Out of 10, I would give it 14!” Thousands take part in the celebrations including the annual Festival of Lights and Festival of Colors.

In this 45-minute film, shot in over 100 locations, audiences are taken from the freezing peaks of the Himalayas to the nation’s scorching deserts and tropical rainforests; across fields and rivers and to small remote villages, all along witnessing the sheer natural beauty of India as well as the incredible achievements of its people.

Mystic India also takes an interesting look at the amazing power of yoga and meditation. In the film, Neelkanth survives incredibly harsh conditions, a phenomenon that Harvard scientists researching modern day yogis in India have proven to be possible. The film also explores India’s extensive and accomplished history. India has made important contributions to the world, from astronomy and aviation to atomic physics, geometry and mathematics. In fact India is credited with the invention of the ‘Zero’ and the Decimal System.

A sequence in the film documents the ‘Faces of India’ and the diversity among its inhabitants. India is the only country that speaks 18 different languages and more than 1,600 dialects. Today, India is home to a billion people of different religions, traditions and backgrounds. The real light and wisdom of India is seeking to know not how to conquer the world but how to live in peace, how to live together in harmony. The essence and message of “Mystic India” is that there can be Unity in Diversity; that we share the same sky, walk the same earth, breathe the same air; that we are a single human family, capable of living together, loving one another.

Thus, more than just a breathtaking journey and the heroic tales of the child-yogi Neelkanth’s tolerance and survival, his values of faith, friendship and fearlessness, the film presents a unique journey into the land and soul of India, unraveling her greatest gift to the world, Unity in Diversity. The cinematography is picture perfect and the stunning images are breathtaking and immersive.

Mystic India is one film which has a great entertainment value for audiences of all ages, an even greater educational value for schools, colleges, museums and science centers; a unifying inspiration for families and friends and an even more global message of harmony and co-existence for countries, cultures and communities.


| Award | About Mystic India |
© 2005, Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith