A new documentary film series by Vasudeva Dasa, entitled No Suffering on Safari: The Bangladesh Experience premiered this Oct 31st at Srila Prabhupada’s Samadhi Auditorium in ISKCON’s Mayapur complex.
The film, BhakTV Productions’ first new film in sixteen years, follows a 2008 ISKCON preaching tour and pilgrimage to various towns and Vaishnava holy places in Bangladesh.
Producer Vasudeva Dasa, originally from France and now a resident of Mayapur, presented the well-attended premiere. After creating BhakTV twenty years ago, he became known for a series of 1980s documentaries on India’s holy places and festivals—most notably the popular Timeless Village of the Himalayas.
A fondly remembered ISKCON Television (ITV) classic, Timeless Village remains the only known ISKCON film ever to receive an award from a conventional film organization. The award was handed over by the American Video Conference in 1989, after the film won a competition amongst professional documentary makers from across the entire United States. Adding to the honor, the award was presented by the American Film Institute, Billboard, and the Hollywood Reporter—three of the most prestigious film institutions in America.
For the then budding film maker Vasudeva Dasa, just getting nominated for his first serious production was completely unexpected. But when the film went on to win first prize, he was stunned. “ITV’s director Nrsimhananda Dasa first prompted me to enter the contest,” Vasudeva recalls. “He and his colleague Siddhanta thought I might get lucky with a nomination in the ‘Religion and Philosophy’ category—there was no question of winning the actual award. So when it happened, we simply took it as Krishna’s miracle.”
To mark its 20th anniversary, Timeless Village of the Himalayas was screened at the premiere of Vasudeva’s long-awaited new film, No Suffering on Safari: The Bangladesh Experience. Guest of honor Umapati Swami opened the presentation, followed by speakers Atul Krishna Dasa, head teacher of the Mayapur Institute for Higher Education (MIHET) and Vaikuntha Nitai Dasa, a member of the Mayapur Administrative Council (MAC).
Jayapataka Swami Archives director Deva Gaurahari Dasa spoke last, mentioning his interest in distributing the film to Jayapataka Swami’s disciples worldwide, as it features extensive excerpts of His Holiness’s preaching work in Bangladesh.
The first of a three-part series, No Suffering on Safari focuses on North-East Bangladesh, and includes footage of ISKCON’s Sylhet temple, Kulaura Farm, a pandal (tent) program in Comilla, and the holy places Srivas Angan and Madhava Kund.
The second release in the series is scheduled to be edited by the Gaura Punima festival of February/March 2010. It will focus on the Vaishnava holy places of South-East Bangladesh, including the birthplaces of and worship spots used by the famous saintly brothers Mukunda and Vasudeva Datta. It will also feature Pundarika Dham near Chittagong, which has now developed into a major ISKCON center in Bangladesh.
The third part in The Bangladesh Experience series will take audiences on a boat cruise to the Jungles of Sunderband, home to the famed Royal Tiger of Bengal. It will also vist the birthplaces of two of the most famous saints in Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Rupa and Sanatana Goswami, near Jessore—also a major ISKCON complex.
An Interview with Vasudeva das on http://mayapur.tv/, followed by the screening of No Suffering on Safari is scheduled to be broadcast at 8.30pm on Tuesday November 24th.
No Suffering on Safari can now be ordered as a fully packaged high-definition DVD from JPS Archives, firstname.lastname@example.org. For wholesale orders for the purpose of retail distribution at your local temple shop, please contact BhakTV at email@example.com.
Timeless Village of the Himalayas is now also available from BhakTV in a digitally re-mastered, fully packaged DVD.
Here is 5 minute excerpt from the new film: