Namaste Yoga: In the heartwarming short film Namaste Yoga, director Ravi Chand. Who spoke at the Third World Hindu Congress in Bangkok. Explores the profound impact of cultural appropriation on the self-worth of young individuals.
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Namaste Yoga – embracing one’s cultural roots
Namaste Yoga focuses on the story of Shiv, a 10-year-old boy ashamed of his Hindu identity. Forced into mandatory lunchtime yoga classes after a school fight. Shiv encounters Miss Blanche, his self-proclaimed yoga “guru” and homeroom teacher.
The narrative reveals the complex layers of identity and belonging experienced by the lead characters, Shiv and Kali, mirroring Ravi’s struggles growing up.
Ravi’s 22-minute short film Namaste Yoga has already made its mark by airing nationally on Australian TV and participating in major film festivals globally, including two Oscar-qualifying events.
As Namaste Yoga gears up for its international release, Ravi and his team are actively collaborating with Hindu organizations worldwide.
Their primary focus is ensuring that the film reaches Hindu youth, children, and parents, making it a top priority to share this powerful narrative within the global Hindu community.
Other projects of Ravi
As a seasoned filmmaker, Ravi Chand’s previous projects showcase his dedication to highlighting diverse cultural narratives.
“Five Year Grandma” and “Bharatanatyam” delve into familial bonds and the artistic expression of cultural heritage, respectively, earning acclaim for their authenticity and emotional resonance.
In “Five Year Grandma,” Ravi shares his journey of reconnecting with his maternal Grandma after 24 years of separation.This heartwarming story serves as a love letter to his young son, emphasizing the importance of their connection to Hindu Dharma in the face of inevitable racism in Australia.
“Bharatanatyam” takes the audience into the world of an incredible Tamil family, offering a glimpse into the dynamics of working together as a Bharatanatyam family.
The short documentary captures the family’s banter and preparations before their first performance since COVID lockdowns, providing a poignant exploration of cultural expression and resilience.
Ravi’s work extends beyond the screen, with his dedication evident in the success of “Five Year Grandma.” Now in development as a 3 X 1-hour docu-series, and the positive reception of “Bharatanatyam” on Australian national broadcaster ABC’s ABC Art Work program.
As a filmmaker, Ravi Chand continues to break new ground, using his craft to amplify diverse voices, celebrate cultural richness, and inspire a sense of pride and belonging among those who may feel marginalized.
“Namaste Yoga” is a testament to the transformative power of storytelling and the importance of embracing one’s cultural roots on the path to self-discovery and acceptance.
Background of Ravi Chand
Ravi Chand, a Hindu producer, director, and writer based in Australia, draws inspiration from his journey. Born in Fiji and of Bharatiya heritage, Ravi initially sought solace in assimilating into a Western/Australian identity following the tragic loss of his mother.
It took 24 years for him to realize the impact of his decision when he discovered that his maternal Grandma, whom he believed had passed away, was still alive and waiting for him in Fiji.
Ravi’s maternal Grandma (nani) became a crucial catalyst for his journey back to his Indigenous Bharatiya Culture. Fluent in Hindi, Tamil, and native Fijian but not English, his grandmother reconnected Ravi to his language, culture, and self in a breathtaking path of decolonization.
Ravi eloquently captures the essence of this rediscovery, emphasizing the power of cultural roots in shaping one’s identity.
Ravi’s struggle with his cultural identity is compounded by societal perceptions and the media’s portrayal of Hindu culture. Ravi faced racism and shame surrounding his heritage.
The film delves into the complexities of navigating multiple identities and the internal conflict that arises when cultural appropriation commodifies and distorts the essence of one’s heritage.
Ravi’s personal experiences reflect the dichotomy between the rich tapestry of his Indigenous Hindu Culture and the external pressures to conform to a Westernized identity.
The film serves as a poignant reminder that embracing one’s culture is an empowering journey, especially in the face of cultural appropriation and discrimination.
Namaste Yoga emerges as more than a film; it is Ravi Chand’s heartfelt message to young individuals facing similar struggles: “You are enough. Your culture is your strength.”
The director’s commitment to authenticity has garnered praise, hailing the film as one of the most genuine portrayals of Hindu life in a Western country.
Important points on Namaste Yoga film
- Producer/ Director / Writer – “Namaste Yoga” – [ watch here ] on ABC interview
- ABC TV Artworks – “Bharatanatyam” [ view here ]
- 2021 Film Victoria Screen Development Internship recipient – [ read more here ]
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Namaste Yoga, fractured image credit: hindupost