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Laser show on Swamiji’s life

In the 150th anniversary year of his birth, Swami Vivekananda’s life story will be writ in laser beams. The author is the eldest son of another pride of Bengal who is turning 100 next year — magician P.C. Sorcar.

Swamiji, a laser documentary on the itinerant monk created by Denver-based engineer Manick Sorcar, will be screened at the Science City auditorium on Wednesday afternoon, with Union minister of culture, housing and urban poverty alleviation Kumari Selja as the chief guest.

“Vivekananda was my father’s inspiration. His words have guided my path as well. Doing a laser documentary on him was my heart’s desire and research on the subject had started years ago when I first visited the Art institute in Chicago, the venue of his famous Parliament of Religions speech,” said Sorcar on Tuesday. “Then came this invitation from the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture. So here I am.”

The state government, reportedly, has also evinced interest in the documentary. “I have been approached to screen it again in January when the government holds a programme in tribute to Swamiji at Netaji Indoor Stadium,” Sorcar said.

Sorcar spent all of Tuesday adjusting his equipment in preparation for the 90-minute show. “The film uses state-of-the-art technology with over half a dozen colour lasers, intelligent lighting, other types of light, hazers and sound system — all controlled by computers,” explained the affable laserist, a two-time winner of the prestigious Artistic Award from the International Laser Display Association, US.

The documentary will start with a book flipping open to unfold scenes from the 1893 Parliament of Religions in Chicago. “We will be using rare black and white photographs as pages of the book,” he says.

As Swamiji’s address on universal brotherhood rings out, drawing a standing ovation from the gathering, the pages of the book turn back. Black and white images make way for rapid movements of colourful laser beams and three-dimensional effects that bring alive baby Biley, later to become Swami Vivekananda. The narrative takes a linear route up to his mahasamadhi.

“This unique laser documentary is part of our four-year-long celebration of Swamiji’s sesquicentennial birth anniversary which started in 2010,” said Swami Suvirananda, assistant secretary of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission.

He also outlined other plans to mark the occasion. “On January 18, President Pranab Mukherjee will inaugurate our programme at Swamiji’s ancestral home. The chief minister is keen on hosting a youth forum on January 10-11. On January 12, the day of his birth, the President and the Prime Minister will attend the release of commemorative coins and a stamp in Delhi. We have also requested film-maker Goutam Ghose to make a documentary on his life.”

For those who would miss Wednesday’s laser extravaganza, Sorcar plans to show it again in Calcutta in December.