The Film Adi Shankaracharya

Veeranarayana Pandurangi veerankp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 1 18:38:14 UTC 2009

it is true that these films created some hype at the beginning. but it was
very shortlived. when Madhvacharya was released sometimes in late 80s I was
quite young and it had several screeings but then I got no second
opportunity to see it till the date. since it was in sanskrit people felt
uneasy to understand. moreover coming from  modernist like GV Iyer many
orthodox people frowned upon such films also. it did not quite fall on the
so called traditionalists.
But I think GV Iyer, going by his talks I heard personally, was not very
much interested  to get the cultural contexts
right.....Nor he was getting to do some kind of revivalism. but do something
new in the cinematography. hence there is no much context for the flip side
of his sanskrit films. it is only because of his love for films he made
these things. and he wanted do make them artistically as fas as possible.
otherwise he could have made them in regional language and hit the box

2009/6/1 Robert Zydenbos <zydenbos at>

> Jonathan Silk schreef:
>> Dear Colleagues,
>> I've just run across, entirely by accident, the feature film Adi
>> Shankaracharya, which boasts that it is the first (maybe only?) feature
>> film
>> in Sanskrit. Has this film been discussed somewhere by indologists, or
>> others especially from the point of view of the Sanskrit? I confess I only
>> watched a few minutes of it, and while there's a lot of chanting of
>> classical texts, there is also some speaking ("conversational Sanskrit?")
>> as
>> well (is this the place to confess?--thank goodness for the subtitles!). I
>> am also curious whether the film-makers tried to get the cultural contexts
>> right....
> This of course depends on what one considers 'right'. G.V. Iyer was not a
> historian but a traditionalist and a cinematographic artist, and his
> intention was not to do Western-style historical research. I know that it
> was a tremendous hit in brahminical circles in Karnataka (it was screened by
> many a 'brāhmaṇa saṃgha' in various towns). Iyer first had the dialogues
> written by one pandita in Bangalore, but he was not quite pleased with what
> he thought was the 'naturalness' of the quality fo the language, and then he
> requested Bannanje Govindacharya of Udupi, the leading Mādhva scholar, to
> rewrite the dialogues - which Govindacharya did on the condition that a
> similar film would be made later on Madhva also, to which Iyer happily
> agreed. Govindacharya also participated in writing the scripts for the
> Madhvacharya and Bhagavadgita films by Iyer. (By the way, an interview done
> by me with Govindacharya - of course in Sanskrit, but about his Sanskrit
> writings, not about the films - is due to appear in the maiden issue of the
> Münchener Indologische Zeitschrift, which hopefully may appear in another
> month or two.)
> RZ
> --
> Prof. Dr. Robert J. Zydenbos
> Department fuer Asienstudien - Institut fuer Indologie und Tibetologie
> Universitaet Muenchen
> Deutschland
> Tel. (+49-89-) 2180-5782
> Fax  (+49-89-) 2180-5827

Veeranarayana N.K. Pandurangi
Head, Dept of Darshanas,
Yoganandacharya Bhavan,
Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Rajasthan Samskrita University, Madau, post
Bhankrota, Jaipur, 302026.

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