Shot within the premier area centres in India, Yaanam traces India’s curiosity in area from an historical textual content to MOM

Shot within the premier area centres in India, Yaanam traces India’s curiosity in area from an historical textual content to MOM

Speaking in fluent Sanskrit, S Somnath, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), explains how the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) turned a actuality at a fraction of the fee that it took to make the movie  Martians. In the identical vein, Dr Radhakrishnan, former chairman of the ISRO, talks concerning the group work and dedication that led to the profitable launch of MOM, additionally known as Mangalyaan.

Yaanam (which implies journey in Sanskrit), a science documentary in Sanskrit produced by AV Anoop, is maybe the first such movie within the language. It turned a actuality as a result of of movie director Vinod Mankara’s want to make content material in Sanskrit, which had modern relevance. Vinod’s first try and make a Sanskrit movie was  Priyamanasam, a function movie that gained the award for the very best function movie in Sanskrit on the International Film Festival of India in 2015.

A poster of Yaanam, a documentary in Sanskrit, that traces the achievements of Indian space scientists

A poster of Yaanam, a documentary in Sanskrit, that traces the achievements of Indian area scientists
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Made 22 years after GV Iyer’s movie in Sanskrit,  Bhagavad Gita (1993), Priyamanasam broke new floor with its story and narrative. “I questioned why it took 22 years for somebody to make a movie in Sanskrit. I felt there was a false impression that Sanskrit was the language of devotional works, mantras and prayers. I needed to deconstruct that template and make a movie that had layers of romance, heartbreak, poetry and music,” he recollects.

Set in seventeenth century Kerala,  Priyamanasam was based mostly on the ultimate years of maestro Unnayi Warrier and his wrestle to finish his masterpiece, Nalacharitham Aattakatha, comprising some of essentially the most well-known performs in Kathakali.

Priyamanasam had dialogues and all of the substances of a mainstream movie. The theme of the movie struck a chord with viewers and that gave Vinod the braveness to suppose of a science documentary in Sanskrit.

Many of the traditional Indian texts on astronomy and science had been written in Sanskrit. Vinod had heard that  Surya Siddhanta, an historical Sanskrit manuscript on astronomy, had described seven planets, talked about the gap between Saturn and the Earth, the diameter of Saturn and so on. “Much later, with the assistance of telescopes, the gap between the Earth and the planets, the diameter of the planets and so on had been calculated exactly. There wasn’t a lot of a distinction between the calculations of the traditional Indian astronomers and latter-day astronomers,” explains Vinod.

Palm leaf manuscript of Surya Siddhanta, which is preserved at the Oriental Research Institute and Manuscripts Library in Thiruvananthapuram

Palm leaf manuscript of Surya Siddhanta, which is preserved at the Oriental Research Institute and Manuscripts Library in Thiruvananthapuram
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Keen on seeing a manuscript of the Surya Siddhanta in Sanskrit, Vinod sought the assistance of his contacts throughout India. That was when he learnt that a manuscript existed on the Oriental Research Institute and Manuscripts Library in Thiruvananthapuram. He was capable of learn it with the assistance of Sanskrit teachers on the Government Sanskrit College in Kerala. “In these days, astronomy and astrology weren’t handled as separate topics and so the writing in historical Sanskrit was blended with astrology as effectively,” recollects Vinod.

Former ISRO chairman Dr Radhakrishnan’s book My Odyssey inspired filmmaker Vinod Mankara to make a film on the Mars Orbiter Mission

Former ISRO chairman Dr Radhakrishnan’s ebook My Odyssey impressed filmmaker Vinod Mankara to make a movie on the Mars Orbiter Mission
| Photo Credit: Special association

In the meantime, Vinod got here throughout Radhakrishnan’s ebook My Odyssey. Written after the area scientist had retired from ISRO, the ebook had a whole chapter dedicated to MOM. “It learn like a thriller. Even as a junior scientist, Radhakrishnan sir was dreaming about a area mission to Mars,” says Vinod.

A still from the documentary Yaanam featuring former ISRO chairman Dr Radhakrishnan and Dr Annapurni Subramaniam,  director of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, on the violin

A nonetheless from the documentary Yaanam that includes former ISRO chairman Dr Radhakrishnan and Dr Annapurni Subramaniam, director of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, on the violin
| Photo Credit: Special association

Finally, ₹450 crore was allotted to the MOM venture. “In addition to the technological challenges, the scientists needed to make it a actuality in that funds and solely Indian scientists might certainly have made that occur,” asserts the director.

Vinod went to the script of Yaanam from there. Radhakrishnan, a Kathakali artiste, musician and Sanskrit scholar, turned intrigued, when he learnt that Vinod was planning to make it in Sanskrit, a documentary that traced India’s curiosity in area, proper from the Surya Siddhanta to MOM.  

Vinod Mankara at the launch pad of MOM

Vinod Mankara on the launch pad of MOM
| Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

When it got here to the taking pictures of the documentary, Vinod wrote innumerable letters to ISRO searching for permission to shoot on the premises, all in useless. Finally, it was Dr Somnath, who helped him achieve entry to the premises of India’s premier area centres. The taking pictures began in December 30, 2021 and was accomplished in April 2022.

“Perhaps, it was the first taking pictures of a movie within the analysis centres in 50 years. I used to be capable of witness the launch of MOM on the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota the place I used to be given an hour for the shoot,” he recollects.

Vinod Mankara (second from left) with Dr S Somnath (third from left), chairman, ISRO

Vinod Mankara (second from left) with Dr S Somnath (third from left), chairman, ISRO
| Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

To assist the scientists communicate in Sanskrit, Vinod supplied to put in writing the dialogues in Malayalam. “Instead, the chairman informed me to present it in Sanskrit itself and he learnt all of it for the shoot. As Radhakrishnan sir already knew the language, it was simple.” The scientists themselves clarify the challenges they needed to overcome to make their dream venture come true.

The movie was premiered in Chennai in August the place it was screened to some of the main area scientists in India. Vinod admits that the response to such a movie in Sanskrit was exhilarating and he plans to take it to festivals overseas.

. .