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Rasa Yatra (50 mins) evokes the beauty of pilgrimage through non-linear narrative. Rasa is Sanskrit for 'juice' or 'taste'', and yatra means 'journey', suggesting a joyful inner expedition, beyond the confines of routine and conceptual conventions. Photographed over a period of four years, Rasa Yatra takes the viewer on a meditative journey from the majestic Himalayan mountains into Vrindavana, the spiritual heart of India. For the receptive viewer, Rasa Yatra becomes a pilgrimage rather than a mere depiction of one.

  • Param P. Tomanec
  • Param P. Tomanec
  • Abhinav Goswami
  • N/A
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental
  • Runtime:
    50 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    November 7, 2012
  • Production Budget:
    42,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Bengali, Hindi
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Jaipur Film Festival
    February 15, 2012
    Indian Premiere
  • 12th Indian Prague Film Festival
    October 25, 2012
    European Premiere
    Special Mention
  • Spirit Enlightened Film Festival Online
  • Telluride Film Festival
  • Hamburg School of Oriental Studies
Distribution Information
  • Bush Media Group
    Country: Germany
    Rights: Video on Demand, Video / Disc
    Country: Austria
    Rights: Video on Demand, Video / Disc
    Country: Switzerland
    Rights: Video on Demand, Video / Disc
  • Museum of Sacred Art
    Country: Belgium
    Rights: Video on Demand
Director Biography - Param P. Tomanec

Turning away from a promising career in the commercial film and advertisement industries, at eighteen years of age Param embarked on a journey of rediscovery. This call to adventure led him to a joining a spiritual yoga ashram of Krishna tradition, north of London in 1997. There he spent nine years in meditation, studying philosophy and serving the community. While based in the monastic community, Param worked on photographic documentaries in eastern Africa, Asia, and Europe. Since 2005 he is living in Oxford, UK. The love affair with experimental cinema took him to Godfrey Reggio, the director of the groundbreaking QATSI trilogy, Visitors and to Indian art-filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma. Param's creativity is largely inspired by Eastern traditions with artists like Andrei Tarkovsky, Akira Kurosawa and Godfrey Reggio bringing influences into his work.

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Director Statement

I am delighted to introduce RASA YATRA here. Thank you.

My hope for this film is to evoke an emotional rather than a mere intellectual response from the audience. Emmanuel Levinas, the French philosopher once advised: “Emotions are irreducible to concepts.” So this insight made me ask: How am I going to make this film, at once conceptually consistent and yet pointing beyond a mere conceptual framework? The subject of the film is devotion to Radha Krishna and Shiva in India set in the context of modernity.

With the intellectual support received from the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, I was able to undertake four long photographic field trips to India. I lived with yogis and slept under the open sky, I stayed in temples and ashramas, I also lived with genuinely devout Hindu families. It took about five years to edit and analyze my findings.

I have chosen to give up a conventional voice-over narration in this film. In an era of advertising and propaganda the image and voice is used to manipulate the viewer even in documentaries, so I tried to avoid this as much as possible in my work. In Rasa Yatra the script consists of real-life conversations and sacred texts. The soundtrack is made of natural sound recordings. Music tracks were recorded by musicians who themselves are practitioners of the Krishna tradition in India as well as in the West. I realized that if I allow the subject to speak for itself, then the viewing experience will be better.

The three-way relationship of the encounter between the image-sound- audience is my interest, not predetermined meaning, which would turn the work into a piece of propaganda. The encounter can bring different experiences to different viewers at different times. In this sense the
meaning of this film is found in the eye of the beholder.
In Rasa Yatra, which I would define as an experiential documentary, the subject is indescribable in my view merely through the word. I have rejected the notion of much of conventional cinema, where the pictures are used as a background for a story. Instead, I wanted to make the pictures to be the foreground for the story. Images are accepted as universal language, just like music, so what better narration could I have than that which points directly at the heart of the audience? I wanted to allow the images themselves to become the voice of the dialogue instead of using the metaphor of language to narrate my pilgrimage. The Russian
filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky remarked in his book Sculpting in Time, “A
book read by a thousand different people is a thousand different books.” At last I wish to express my gratitude to Godfrey Reggio (Koyaanisqatsi) for guiding me through the art of non-verbal cinema and reviewing my film before its release.