Banaras, A Mystic Love Story

Banaras is not a destination its a journey of our lives. If you go to watch this movie for a ready-made solution or only to "kill" two hours, you may get disappointed. Banaras is aimed to create a thirst for something one is generally uncomfortable to explore.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

"A wonderful story"

I am reproducing the mail which I recieved from someone who viewed Banaras on a DVD.

"Dear Mr. Singh,

It's at times like these I wish I had a better command of language. I've just seen Banaras - A Mystic Love Story for the first time, and I fear my meager grasp of words is insufficient to describe the profound impact it had on me.

I confess, I bought the DVD because it starred Urmila Matondkar. I'm a newcomer to Indian film having only discovered it this year, but because of her I developed an immediate fascination not only with Indian film, but with India in general. But Urmila-ji was only the initial motivation for my interest -- not the sole reason I feel so compelled to write to you.

Even taken only at face value as a work of art Banaras excels. When you place the most beautiful woman in the world against the backdrop of such an inspiring place only good things can result. So even if all you do is look at it, Banaras is well worth the time.

Worth the time, but if you only look at it as a pretty thing you will cheat yourself. Allow yourself to respond without thought to the images and dialogue on the screen and the film -- like the city itself, I can only imagine -- will conduct you to places you hadn't hoped to go because you never knew they existed.

Allow youself to experience the film without filtering and you will feel Shwetanmbari's anguish, Soham's serenity, Baba-ji's wisdom, Gayatri's guilt... the current of emotion washes you away as surely as the Ganga herself.

This is a film that cannot be merely seen. It must be experienced. If the viewer can allow himself to do that, why... he might even learn something. I certainly did, though what it was I cannot readily define.

Or perhaps it was not learning at all, but validation of that which I already knew. Consciously or unconsciously, what I saw did not seem like a revelation so much as a confirmation. It took on the appearance of revelation -- perhaps because I had not, or would not, recognize it as a truth I already knew.

One thing is certain. I will watch Banaras many more times. I find that -- having to depend on subtitles -- this is necessary with any non-English film, but particularly one with such a rich subtext.

Sir, you have crafted a masterpiece, a triumph. And perhaps one day I will find the words to define its effect on me. Until then, I can only offer the sincerest of thanks for bringing such a wonderful story to life.

James Bengel,
Raleigh, NC, USA"