Filmed in India’s major space stations, Yanam traces India’s interest in space from an ancient text to MOM
Shot in major space centers of India, yanami India’s interest in space is derived from an ancient text MOM. shows up to
Speaking in fluent Sanskrit, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Chairman S Somanath explains how the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) became a reality at a fraction of the cost of film making. martian, Similarly, former ISRO Chairman Dr Radhakrishnan talks about the teamwork and dedication that led to the successful launch of MOM, also known as Mangalyaan.
yanami (which means journey in Sanskrit), a science documentary in Sanskrit produced by AV Anoop, is perhaps the first such film in the language. This became a reality due to film director Vinod Mankara’s desire to create material in Sanskrit that had contemporary relevance. Vinod’s first attempt at making a Sanskrit film was priyamanasamyA feature film that won the award for Best Feature Film in Sanskrit at the International Film Festival of India in 2015.
a poster of yanami, a documentary in Sanskrit, which traces the achievements of Indian space scientists. photo credit: special arrangement
Made 22 years after the film in GV Iyer’s Sanskrit, Bhagavad Gita (1993), priyamanasamy He broke new ground with his story and story. Says Vinod, “I wondered why it took someone 22 years to make a film in Sanskrit. I thought there was a misconception that Sanskrit is the language of devotional works, mantras and prayers. I wanted to recreate that blueprint and make a film that had layers of romance, heartbreak, poetry and music,” he recalls.
Established in 17th century Kerala, priyamanasamy Ustad Unnai was based on Warrior’s final years and his struggle to complete his masterpiece, Nalcharitam Athakatha, Some of the most famous plays of Kathakali include.
priyamanasamy There were dialogues and all the elements of a mainstream film. The theme of the film captivated the audience and it gave Vinod the courage to think of a science documentary in Sanskrit.
Many of the ancient Indian texts on astronomy and science were written in Sanskrit. Vinod had heard sun principle, An ancient Sanskrit manuscript on astronomy described seven planets, the distance between Saturn and Earth, the diameter of Saturn, etc. “Much later, with the help of telescopes, accurate calculations were made of the distance between the Earth and the planets, the diameters of the planets, etc. There was not much difference between the calculations of ancient Indian astronomers and those of later astronomers,” explains Vinod.
palm leaf manuscript sun principle, which is protected Oriental Research Institute and Manuscript Library in Thiruvananthapuram | photo credit: special arrangement
looking forward to seeing a manuscript of Surya Siddhanta In Sanskrit, Vinod sought the help of his contacts across India. It was only then that he came to know that a manuscript existed in the Oriental Research Institute and Manuscript Library in Thiruvananthapuram. He was able to read it with the help of Sanskrit academics at the Government Sanskrit College in Kerala. “In those days, astronomy and astrology were not treated as separate disciplines and therefore writing in ancient Sanskrit was mixed with astrology as well,” recalls Vinod.
Former ISRO Chairman Dr Radhakrishnan’s book my odyssey Filmmaker Vinod Manakara inspired to make a film on Mars Orbiter Mission. photo credit: special arrangement
Meanwhile Vinod got Radhakrishnan’s book. my odyssey, The book, written after the space scientist retired from ISRO, had an entire chapter dedicated to Mom. “It read like a thriller. Even as a junior scientist, Radhakrishnan sir was dreaming about a space mission to Mars,” says Vinod.
still from documentary yanami The violin features Dr. Radhakrishnan, former chairman of ISRO and Dr. Annapurni Subramaniam, director of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics. photo credit: special arrangement
Finally, ₹450 crore was allocated for the MOM project. “Apart from the technical challenges, scientists had to make this a reality in that budget and only Indian scientists could really do that,” says the director.
went to Vinod’s script yanami From there. Kathakali artist, musician and Sanskrit scholar Radhakrishnan learns that Vinod plans to make it in Sanskrit, a documentary that traces India’s interest in space. Surya Siddhanta To the mother
Vinod Mankara at Mom’s launch pad | photo credit: special arrangement
When it came to shooting the documentary, Vinod wrote innumerable letters to ISRO for permission to shoot on campus, all in vain. In the end, it was Dr. Somnath who helped him reach the complex of India’s major space centers. Shooting began on December 30, 2021 and was completed in April 2022.
“Probably, this was the first shooting of a film in research centers in 50 years. I was able to watch the launch of MOM at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, where I was given an hour to shoot,” he recalls. We do.
Dr. S Somnath (third from left), Chairman, ISRO with Vinod Mankara (second from left). photo credit: special arrangement
To help the scientists speak in Sanskrit, Vinod offered to write the dialogues in Malayalam. “Instead, the president asked me to give it in Sanskrit itself and he learned it all for the shoot. Since Radhakrishnan sir already knew the language, it was easy.” The scientists themselves narrate the challenges they faced to make their dream project come true.
The film premiered in August in Chennai where it was shown to some of India’s leading space scientists. Vinod admits that the response to such a film in Sanskrit was encouraging and he plans to take it to festivals abroad.