From Judith Barber - Atlanta, GA
"WOW! I really liked what I saw. After a bit I began to feel something of what it must be like to be there. Everything is so otherworldly, alien and chaotic/organic that it begins to shake one loose from our accepted world view.
A wonderful if uneasy feeling. The way it is filmed, the music, the scenery all together make for something of an altered state of consciousness.....rather trance like...which I imagine is appropriate for the subject matter.
I really enjoy the confrontation with such otherness as I think it brings one closer to the Truth."
From Kenneth van Doren - Seattle, WA
"Loved the film! We felt as if we were there in person..."
Robert Schnitzer - Oasis TV-Los Angeles
"Woodstock for the Spirit."
Harold Crooks - whose documentary film credits include the award-winning The World Is Watching, The Champagne Safari and The Corporation.
"Songs of the River displaces a Westerner from everyday certitudes and opens him or her to the power of the Kumbha Mela experience and the consciousness people like [Yogmata] Keiko Aikawa seek. All in all, a compelling cinematic experience."
"This documentary draws you into the kaleidoscopic mix of color, sound and mood. Watching it, you are adrift in a sea of exuberant spirituality that feels both strange and yet familiar, and you happily abandon your senses to its ebb and flow. It is a film to be experienced with the heart rather than the intellect"
Houston Spiritual Film Group
"Our local spiritual movie group had the wonderful opportunity to screen this film at one of our gatherings. It was captivating! Kumbh Mela: Songs of The River takes you on a personal journey that allows the viewer to become a part of the experience, first hand. Through brilliant cinematography you are there, breathing in the essence of the spirit in which this film was created - an invitation to experience the human spirit with unflinching honesty. Though the 2001 gathering was the final Kumbh Mela in a 12-year cycle of festivals, this film will forever allow you to take your own pilgrimage to the Festival of The Urn, and return again and again."
Roz Burnham "metaphysical counselor" - Dallas, Texas
"This film is a masterpiece of visual, emotional and spiritual elements which beautifully conveys the true essence of the largest gathering of humanity in the world. The cinematography is alive with the sights and sounds of a world festival of epic proportions. You feel all the emotion of one who was actually present in India at this most special gathering. Many religions and philosophies made their presence felt, as they all came together in a spirit of oneness and peace. "
Monica S. Wilson - Seattle, Washington
"Vibrantly beautiful! This wonderful film immerses the viewer in the experience of Kumbh Mela. There is no unnecessary narrative telling you what you are seeing or what you are supposed to think about the incredible events occurring here. I appreciated that the viewer is allowed to form their own thoughts and ideas as the documentary unfolds. I am also delighted that this film will bring this ancient festival into the homes and hearts of people around the world who can now share in the wonder of this tradition. It is especially encouraging to know that the largest gathering of people in recorded history, visible from space, was inspired by a deep and abiding love and spiritual belief."
Rand Chatterjee - Vancouver, BC Canada
"For such an age-old festival, only the purest of documentary art will do it justice. Commentary would spoil the images, and Nadeem Uddin instead provides us a mix of music and sounds that strengthen the already powerful and beautiful images he recorded of millions of devout Hindus on their way to salvation. This is Direct Cinema at its best, empowering viewers to make their own judgments, or just to enjoy a montage of filmic images that defines a unique congregation and community of mankind. Would that we could all share such an experience. Now we can"
S. Normandin - Silicon Valley, CA
"Who knew? We hear about the Haj at Mecca which draws a couple of million pilgrims, but who knew that the Kumbh Mela in India drew 70 million?!! Seventy million Hindu pilgrims! Not to mention thousands of naked holymen doing all sorts of bizarre penances to God! The film is a visual journey and a feast for the imagination. Brilliant, colorful cinematography depicting a strange gathering in a strange land. A must have for anyone interested in cultural anthropology, India, or spirituality. Might have been made better with more documentary information (for example I found out this religious gathering has been going on--its held every 12 years-- since 3464 BC!) and possibly the integration of some still images on which to linger a bit in mid-marvel. All in all a wonderful and fascinating experience. (By the way I found a wonderfully informative and funny story about the Kumbh on a web mag called theArtichoke.org.) "
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