‘Drawing Attention to Tibet’
by Anand Haridas
(The Hindu | April 13, 2004)
Tenzin Gyatso, or the XIV Dalai Lama, is called 'Kundun', meaning the
'presence' by those close to him. This implies what this festival,
which includes a photo exhibition and screening of films, seeks to
attain. It is more than a gesture of solidarity with a people who
have been severed from their roots.
The 'Ocean of Wisdom', the four-day exhibition of 20 rare photographs
of the XIV Dalai Lama and screening of films on and about Tibet
will open on April 17 in Kochi. The festival is being organised by
the Friends of Tibet (India) and Kashi Art Café.
The Friends of Tibet was formed in 1999 at Bombay, with just one
member. Now it has more than three thousand. Only 20-25 of them
are from this city. This exhibition and film screening are part
of efforts to announce the presence of the Cochin chapter of the
movement, says Sethu Das, founder and president of Friends of Tibet
The photographs by Suresh Natarajan capture the Dalai Lama in
different moods. And the films will throw open the different
dimensions of exile, physical and psychological.
'The Cup', a feature film by Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, a
juxtaposition of monastic life with modern life, it is about the
impact of the 1999 World Cup football tournament on a Tibetan
monastery near Dharamsala.
While 'Kundun', by Martin Scorcese, tracks the life of the present
Dalai Lama, the documentary 'Escape from Tibet' is about a group
of young Tibetans' escape to India. The former is a documentation
of a nation breaking up and the latter is about the reality after
the Chinese invasion of Tibet. Also there is, 'Tibet: Cry of the
Snow lion', a documentary by Tom Peosay made over ten years. It
traces life in its varied manifestations, inside monasteries,
among warriors, in brothels and slums of holy city of Lhasa to the
snow-clad Himalayan peaks.
"These are the main films to be screened. We have more films
on this subject with us. If the audience is interested,
we can have continuous screenings in the day time also,"
adds Mr. Das. The concept is to garner as many supporters for
this movement. Incidentally, 'Ocean of Wisdom' will travel
to Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Kozhikode and to all State
capitals. But then, this is just a beginning. The Friend of Tibet
and its members are busy, planning for bigger assignments in near
future. For the time being, they are trying to make the message
heard, loud and clear.