Adventure of an American Yogi: An Effort to take Indian Spiritualism to the West
Panaji (Nov. 29, 2014): Many dimensions of India’s spiritualism are yet to be exposed to the west in their right perspective and the documentary film ‘Adventure of an American Yogi’ is an effort to meet that shortcoming. Since the story about east becomes more credible to the west when it is portrayed by their own western film maker, this documentary is able to muster a good response in the western audience. This was an explanation of Steven Newmark, the Director of the film in the press conference which he was addressing after screening of his film at 45th IFFI today.
The film also aims to dissolve some of the misconceptions about India, its people and its religious traditions. Based on the life of a saint, Neemkaroli Baba Maharaj, who had a hermitage near Nainital in Uttarakhand, is the spirit behind this film, says psychotherapist Steven Newmark (the American Yogi). Although Neemkaroli Baba had asked Steven to make films on Hindu mythologies, Steven chose to produce a film on the Baba himself who in Steven’s opinion was a real preceptor or Guru. Although the west was aware of Neemkaroli Baba ji eversince a book on him by one of his western follower Ram Dass (the name given to him by Neemkaroli Baba) was published. The book entitled ‘Be Here Now’ evoked a good response about the eastern philosophy among the young generation in western countries. From this book, the film’s narrative continues in the second act with Steven’s trip to India in 1981, when Neemkaroli Baba had passed away (he passed away in 1973). During that journey, Steven experiences the essence of India’s spiritual teachings and is inspired to make a movie about India.
Steven Newmark, Ph.D. is a filmmaker, author and psychotherapist. He has created several best-selling videos that were acclaimed by a number of renowned journals of America and other western countries.
Anurag Gupta, the producer of the film was also present in the conference. Replying to a question, he informed that he too being a follower of Neemkaroli Baba Maharaj ji became attached with the film which was being made by Steven Newmark.