PK Asokan with Vani Vashishth
It was in 1983 that the first Sanskrit language movie, Adi Shankaracharya was made by GV Iyer. And now three-and-a-half decades later, the country has churned out the world’s first Sanskrit 3D movie, Anurakthi. Based on the traditional art form of Koodiyattam, the movie was screened at the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) Goa last year and won the special jury award for best regional film at the 5th Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF) Jaipur earlier this year.
The film revolves around a Punjabi danseuse (Vani Vashishth) who arrives in Kerala to learn the ancient dance form of Koodiyattam from a master (Kalamandalam Sivan Namboodiri). The master’s son falls in love with the danseuse and later mistakes the relationship between his father and the student.
In a conversation with www.lifeandmore.in, director PK Asokan says he got Sanskrit scholars on board to get the diction of the actors right and finished the movie in six days.
When was the first time that the idea of making a film in Sanskrit strike?
At an event, I saw Vani chanting Sanskrit shlokas so fluently and accurately that I decided there and then to make a movie in Sanskrit and that too in 3D format as it hadn’t been done before.
Are you well-versed in Sanskrit or did you have to learn it?
As I come from Kerala, famous for its cultural and traditional values, I have a fairly good knowledge of Sanskrit.
Was it a challenge to make this movie and how was the experience?
We completed it in six days. I thank my team, especially Padma Shri Kalamandalam Sivan Namboodiri for his acting and Koodiyattam dancing skills and Vani, an incredible and talented artiste.
Did everyone involved in the movie know Sanskrit?
Though the actors were familiar with the language, I got best Sanskrit scholars onboard to achieve perfection.
This is the first Sanskrit movie to made in 3D. Is there a market for a Sanskrit movie in India or elsewhere in the world?
Of course, there is. Western and European countries have appreciated the concept and are willing to support such movies.