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Now a festival on Buddhist philosophy, aesthetics

IANS, April 18 2012

New Delhi, India -- The capital is set to host its first ever international Buddhist film festival, aimed at promoting Buddhist philosophy and aesthetics.

The festival, to be held April 27-May 4, is being organised by the Network for Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) and Devika Foundation.

Aruna Vasudev, president NETPAC, and Suresh Jindal of Devika Foundation, are themselves devout Buddhism practitioners.

"Though Buddhism originated in India, not many people know about the various aspects of the religion. So we thought why not organise a festival and make people aware of Buddhist philosophies," Vasudev told reporters here Wednesday.

"There have been many such festivals held in Washington, Bangkok and London but this is the first in India," she added.

The festival will showcase films, photographs, dance performances, as well as host discussions and debates, demonstrating the myriad streams of Buddhism practiced around the world.

A total of 22 short films and documentaries on Buddhism from all across the world will be screened at the festival, to be held at Indian Council of Cultural Relations.

"We have a good package of films from countries like Bhutan, Argentina, Korea, Sri Lanka, China and Japan. I am myself surprised with the kind of films that I have seen, especially the ones on great Buddhism practitioners," said Jindal.

"This shows that Buddhism is also going in a very rapid way in the west," added Jindal, who has produced films like Basu Chatterjee's "Rajnigandha" and Satyajit Ray's "Shatranj Ke Khiladi".

Directors and film personalities, whose works will be screened here, will be attending the event.

Some of the visitors will include Korean director Yoon Yong-jin, Sri Lankan filmstar Thumindu Dodantenna and director Hector Kumarasiri.

"I hope this festival will motivate Indian filmmakers to make movies highlighting Buddhism as a religion," said Vasudev.

There will be a photo exhibition by filmmaker and photographer Benoy K. Behl titled "The Greatest Journey of Ideas: Spread of Buddhism". Behl travelled to 19 different countries to capture the Buddhist Art.

"My photo exhibition will track the inception of Buddhism, how it was created, its earlier manifestations in India and how has it developed over the years," said Behl.

The festival will have panel discussions by eminent Buddhist scholars. It is supported by ICCR and the Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs.

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