Renowned celebs, Ravi Shashtri, Priya Dutt, Deepti Naval, Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Dolly Thakore, Mita Vashisht, Vibha Bakshi and Akriti Kakkar and grand niece of Yogananda, Ria Dutta turned up at the premiere of internationally acclaimed and award-winning documentary, Awake: The Life of Yogananda on Monday evening.
It was a rare outing for the Indian VJ and actress, Ruby Bhatia who hosted the special screening. Devotee of Yogananda, Ruby Bhatia met her life partner at YSS ashram in 2008.
Swami Smaranananda Giri, General Secretary Yogoda Satsanga Society of India Ranchi, Jharkhand, Brahmacharis Nishthananda, filmmaker Sanjeev Sharma and many other devotees of Yogananda were also present at the screening.
Narrated by veteran actor Anupam Kher, the unconventional biography on the life of Yogananda who authored spiritual classic ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ slated for Pan India release on June 17, to mark the International Yoga Day, which is celebrated on June 21.
Priya Dutt— “I have read Parmahansa Yogananda’s memoir ‘Autobiography Of A Yogi’ and deeply inspired by it. It’s great news that the biopic on his life is releasing in India and I would urge everyone to watch it.”
Ravi Shastri— “When you see the biopic Awake: Life of Yogananda, you can’t sleep, you will always be awake. The film makes us realize that we live in the world, which is materialistic and artificial, if we practice old ancient techniques developed by our masters and practice it day in and day out, we can actually discover the power of living in the moment. I’m a student of this great man and I believe I’m only going to get better if I practice it regularly. I know his blessings are with all of us and nothing can stop us from getting awakened.”
He adds, “The thing about Swamiji (Parmahansa Yogananda) that really amazed me the first time I went to the YSS ashram in Ranchi after reading the book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’, is that here is an eastern Master who went on to become the giant in the West. What amazed me that, he went to the US with nothing but just years of practice, self-belief and his relationship with his Guru. That’s all the baggage he carried. Then he found each and every tool there to enlighten the West.”
VJ and actress Ruby Bhatia – “I first read ‘Autobiography in 1999 but I didn’t start following until a few years later. In 2006 I took Kriya Yoga diksha from Yogoda Satsang Society of India and I met my partner Ajeet Dutta who is a fellow disciple in 2008 and got married. So both of us are disciples of Shri Shri Paramhansa Yogananda and we practice Kriya Yoga and we have two beautiful sons Krishnav and Vaishnu and it’s been very meaningful to be with Guruji, finally somebody telling us the truth and what it all is about and the beautiful infinite journey and infinite possibilities.”
Deepti Naval— “I read ‘Autobiography of a Yogi when I was in college and now my friend Sushmita Mukherjee has gifted me the book again. After seeing the film Awake, the memoir will make so much more sense. So I’m looking forward to read it again.”
Talking about the movie she says, “The movie is very well made and it puts things in the right perspective. It’s been made without any consideration for the so-called projection of something in commercial terms, without decorating it with any false glitz to make it work. The whole focus is on what Swamiji lived for, so that’s what the film brings out.”
A regular practitioner of Yoga she adds, “The whole concept of Self Realisation through meditation and Kriya, is something that we need to take much more seriously. So instead of using it as a tool for sickness we need to think of it as something that brings us closer to our inner self and make us realize who we are.”
The Former Director, BARC Dr. Anil Kakodkar – “It’s important that you live in the world with all the good things and bad things and at the same time realize your inner awakening and spread the goodness. That’s the power of Yoga”
Yogananda, widely regarded as the Father of Yoga in the West and author of the best-selling spiritual classic “Autobiography of a Yogi,” has also inspired many including Apple Founder, Steve Jobs,; George Harrison, lead guitarist of The Beatles; celebrated Indian musician, Ravi Shankar; and Indian superstar Amitach Bachchan.
Written and directed by Academy Award-nominated director Paola Di Florio and Lisa Leeman, the film features interviews with George Harrison, lead guitarist of The Beatles; the world-renowned Indian musician, Ravi Shankar; Deepak Chopra, holistic health pioneer; Krishna Das, famous Kirtan musician; and many others who have found inspiration in Yogananda’s writings and teachings.
Produced by Counterpoint films, the biopic is distributed by Muviwale Entertainment Pvt. Ltd in India and will be releasing in major cities, Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Noida, Gurgaon, Ranchi and Thane.