On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Sri Aurobindo and the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, Doordarshan will premiere the films ‘The Transformation’ in English and ‘Naya Janma’ in Hindi on August 14 and 15, respectively. The film is about 54 minutes long.
‘The Transformation’ (‘Naya Janma’ in Hindi) traces the life of Sri Aurobindo from 1908 to 1909, a turning point in his spiritual evolution. The Alipore Bomb Case trial, which took place from May 1908 to May 1909, is an event of historical significance during which the British government arrested Sri Aurobindo, then a prominent nationalist leader known by his previous name, Aurobindo Ghose, his brother Barindra Ghose, and a number of young revolutionaries.
They were charged with “conspiracy” or “waging war against the King” — the equivalent of high treason and punishable with death by hanging.
This documentary highlights landmark events that took place during this period. The film has shots of the actual locations in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, where the bomb blast took place and for which Khudiram Bose was hanged. It covers the railway station where Bose’s associate, Prafulla Chaki, shot himself before being caught and the hill where Barindra Ghose and his associates tested the bomb.
The film also includes shots of the Alipore Jail in Kolkata where Sri Aurobindo was kept in solitary confinement and the Uttarpara Jaykrishna Public Library in West Bengal, where Sri Aurobindo for the first time revealed publicly his Yoga and his spiritual experiences. Rare newspapers from the British Library and the National Library with actual writings from Sri Aurobindo form the basis of this film.
Filmed with multiple cameras, ‘The Transformation’ (‘Naya Janma’) has been directed by Abhijit Dasgupta, the recipient of more than 30 national and international documentary film awards. The music is by Pandit Tejendra Narayan Majumdar and Anup Mukherjee has supervised the sound design. The editor of the film is Satyendra Mohanty.
The Pandavani song in the film has been rendered by ‘Chota Teejan’ Sima Ghosh and a song dating back to 1910 has been recreated by Sohini Roy Chowdhury.
In the courtroom enactments, Cyrus Madan plays the prosecuting counsel Yeardley Norton’s role. Pradip Mitra is Additional Sessions Judge Charles Beachcroft and Ashoke Viswanathan appears as Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, then a young barrister.
The film has been produced by the Sri Aurobindo Society and the Kolkata Sukriti Foundation.