Short Cut To Nirvana
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This enthralling documentary treks to the heart of the largest gathering of humanity on Earth: the Kumbh Mela. This huge festival has been held in India every 12 years for over two millennia, but is little known in the West--?until now. The film spectacularly captures the sheer spiritual bliss, eternal wisdom and candid joy that envelop both the festival's pilgrims and world-renowned gurus in attendance. SHORT CUT TO NIRVANA also features a special appearance by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
You could call it a meeting or even a festival, but such words are entirely insufficient to describe the concept of Kumbh Mela. In Short Cut to Nirvana, Maurizio Benazzo and Nick Day take a loose, non-judgmental look at a gathering that has been taking place for over two millennia. As many as 70 million attended when they shot the film in 2001 (whittled down to 85 minutes from 3,500 hours of footage). The celebration takes place every 12 years, between the holy Indian rivers of the Ganges and the Yamuna. Even Mark Twain once made the trip. The documentary opens with his recollection of an 1895 Kumbh Mela: "Pilgrims plodded for months to get here, worn, poor, and hungry, but sustained by unwavering faith." Then there's His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, who has attended twice, the first time in the 1960s. He came to learn about other religions and to promote harmony between them. He makes it clear that he isn't there to convert anyone, but rather to learn. The film's unofficial guide is Swami Krishnanand, a Hindu monk, who translates the messages of various yogis, sadhus, and other spiritual figures. He is joined by a couple of open-minded Westerners, Dyan Summers and Justin Davis, who share their thoughts about the experience with the filmmakers. Short Cut to Nirvana is a lively, impressionistic introduction to a monumental event. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
- A special address by his holiness the Dalai Lama
- Additional conversations with five spiritual teachers at the Kumbh Mela
- Interview with the filmmakers, with the behind-the-scenes footage
- Slide show and gallery
- Four years later, western pilgrims reflect on their experiences
- Theatrical trailer
- In English and Hindi with English subtitles
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If you are looking for the sensational aspect of mystic India, this is perhaps a good movie to watch. I was dissappointed! This film fails to capture the spiritual intent and solemnity of the Kumbh Mela. Pilgrims eagerly look forward this rare festival for spiritual reasons! These "other diversions" are meant to inspire us to move beyond the material limitations. The story line of the film was weak and failed to inspire many of those who watched it with me.