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‘Namaste Yoga’ arrives in New Zealand with Maoriland Film Festival

 

Image from Facebook

Venkat Raman
Auckland, March 11, 2023

A short film which exposes the ‘colonisation of Yoga,’ turning it into a money-spinning industry and the struggle of a young migrant with his identity, will be shown at the Maoriland Film Festival in Auckland next week.

‘Namaste Yoga,’ a film that is making waves across the Tasman in Australia, will be screened as a part of the Festival on March 17, 2023.

The film is about ten-year-old Shiv, an Australian resident, who is ‘ashamed’ to call himself an Indian or a person of Indian origin.

The lad gets involved in a fight at school and the only way in which he could avoid suspension is to attend the mandatory Yoga classes during the lunch hour.

He comes under the tutelage of Miss Blanche, his teacher and a self-proclaimed Yoga master.

Producer-Director-Writer Ravi Chand is a film as much for children as it is for adults.

Namaste Yoga has been produced under his company banner, Warrior Tribe Films.

 

Cultural Appropriation

“Namaste Yoga is about the effect that cultural appropriation can have on young Hindu children and their self-esteem when their culture is appropriated, converted into a commodity and sold back to them. The film discusses complex themes in a language children can understand. It also opens up the opportunity for parents to have deep and meaningful conversations with their children,” he said.

The film has received accolades in Australia, especially in the Indian media following its premier for the national Australian broadcaster and streaming service ABC ME and iView.

It has been described as “One of the most authentic portrayals of Hindu life in a Western country,” “Namaste Yoga is an incredible and beautiful film,” “This is an honest discussion around the cultural appropriation and colonisation of Yoga and “Namaste Yoga is educative and Chand’s sincerity in the making of the film shines through.”

Hinduism at its roots

According to another critique, the film carries a touching and charming piece of storytelling that has been receiving responses from the Western audience.

“The film’s level of nuance, detail and subtlety is being embraced by the Hindu and South Asian Diaspora. There is an overwhelming emotion seen on a Western screen. There is a painstaking level of detail and respect and representation of Hinduism to its indigenous roots. The adversity and heartbreak of dealing with the traumas of assimilation, racism and belonging, particularly for children make Namaste Yoga a wonderful artisanship of decolonisation and representation. This is how it should be done.”

Mr Chand said that he was privileged to make Namaste Yoga.

Producer-Director-Writer of Namaste Yoga: Ravi Chand (Facebook Photo)

“I have received messages from people whom I have never met. Parents have told me that teachers in schools have asked their children to watch it so that they can discuss the theme in their classes. Many parents are also recalling conversations with their children, using Namaste Yoga as an ice breaker,” he said.

The film is reportedly achieving ‘wonderful things’ as children understand the beauty of their culture that lives within themselves.

According to Australian reviews, the film’s inspiring resonance is not limited to the Hindu, Indian and South Asian communities.

“Its significance of experiencing racism, cultural appropriation and assimilation, particularly for children is prevalent as Black, Indigenous and Coloured.

Warrior Tribe Films has released a series of explainer videos on Facebook and Instagram that vouch for collaboration with elders and the community. They articulate the continued colonisation of the Yoga industry, its appropriation and erasure of deeply indigenous culture and knowledge for personal gain.

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