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Young Jesus: The Missing Years

, Jesus' Eastern escapades

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> Young Jesus: The Missing Years, Jesus' Eastern escapades
post Nov 25 2009, 02:31 PM
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He may have been in your city
By: Soumya Mukerji Date: 2009-11-25 Place: Delhi

Award-winning producer Kent Walwin is on a visit to India to explore a facet of Christianity unfilmed so far. FYI chats with him about his new film that will explore Jesus' Eastern escapades

The East and enlightenment are a couple that finds a place in every faith. Even the most widespread Western ones. Some of these stories are secretive, others, well-known, and then there are those that fall in-between, to be mulled upon mindfully. Like Kent Walwin does. The UK-based film practitioner, who recently won the Dayawati Modi National Award for art and culture, slips into the overlooked caves of Christianity to trace Jesus Christ's missing years in the gospels. Called Young Jesus: The Missing Years, his film "starts where Passion of The Christ ends."

A painting that shows Jesus folding his hands in a Namaskar

Are you sure Jesus was in India?
Scholars have said it; it's not hearsay. If you've read his parables, you'd know they have an Indian influence. By camel, horse or donkey, he did travel to India. That's common consensus. My film is based on a well-researched book titled In Love with Death by Satish Kumar Modi. It will launch in spring 2011, while the film is scheduled for next year. In those years that he was here, Jesus is said to have interacted with Hindus, Buddhists and Zoroastrians.

Not Muslims?
Islam wasn't around then. The Prophet's teachings came into being about 100 years after. The Quran, too, talks of Jesus in Islam's early years. But, that's not the point. Whether one is a Hindu, Muslim or Christian, we're looking at the Creator. It's about the same divinity that resides in all these faiths.

Is it a documentary or drama?
Neither. It's a two-hour feature film that'll have a theatrical release. It will be entertaining, for children, parents and grandparents, since it will talk of how some of the best religions in the world bonded.

Have you decided on the starcast and director?
Soon. Jesus, and his friends, will be young, unknown actors. For the older characters, we hope to pick selective names; some bright Indian actors. The film will be produced under a corporation treaty between UK and India. Slumdog (Millionaire) was made under this treaty. The shooting, of course, will take place in India, and I'm predicting 3D transmission will also take over theatres by the time we're done.

Commercial equals controversy. Are you game?
We can't be too careful while pursuing a subject like this one. If you've liked Passion of the Christ, you'd know what I mean. You are bound to get into trouble because no matter how well-researched your film is and good your intentions, there will always be a bunch that wants to stop you.
But, we will have panel discussions and spiritual writers like Peter Erwin to discuss the subject in detail. A documentary on the making of the book, and of course, the book will support the film. We will allow controversy to have a fair platform, and welcome genuine debates.

How far do you think we've come with filmmaking?
Honestly, I think every country is guilty of making films for only itself, of being as selfish as it can get. But, from a global perspective, crossovers are great to capitalise on.
In terms of technical quality, the change is unbelievable. When I got into filmmaking in the early sixties, cameras were incredibly difficult to work with. Today, a family can get together and buy a thousand rupee camera, and technically, the film wouldn't be very different from what I made back then.
Today's filmmakers are also far keener to learn, grow and study the art. In Lincoln's lingo, films today have become of, by and for the people.

Why Christ left some angry
A previous film on Christ to have fanned controversy is Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. Based on the New Testament accounts of the arrest, trial, torture, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus, events commonly known as The Passion, it had dialogues in Aramaic, Latin, and Hebrew, with subtitles, and it was the highest grossing non-English language film in the US. Some Jewish groups had expressed concern that the film blamed the death of Jesus on the Jews as a group, which, they have said, could fan anti-Semitism.

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