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Govt funds for Swami film

Swami Suhitananda and Swami Suvirananda at Belur. Pictures by Gopal Senapati

Calcutta, Jan. 4: The Union culture ministry has approved the Ramakrishna Math and Mission’s proposal for a biopic on Swami Vivekananda and sanctioned Rs 7 crore.

The clearance for the film, which will trace the monk’s entire life, reached Belur Math a week ago.

Sources said the Ramakrishna Math and Mission was in talks with an acclaimed filmmaker in Bengal to direct the biopic.

“The Union culture ministry has cleared the proposal for a film on Swamiji. It has sanctioned Rs 7 crore for the project. The National Film Development Corporation will be the executive producer of the film,” said Swami Suvirananda, assistant secretary of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission.

“The director will prepare the script. The Ramakrishna Math and Mission will, however, have the final word because we don’t want any distortion of facts,” Swami Suvirananda said.

The biopic was conceived as part of a series of programmes to mark the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda, who was born in 1863.

The sources said the Ramakrishna Math and Mission had held several rounds of discussions with the Union culture ministry in the past four years on the film. The birth anniversary celebrations had begun four years ago.

“Union culture minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch cleared the (film) proposal recently,” Swami Suvirananda said.

Katoch will visit Calcutta on January 29 to attend a youth convention at Belur Math. The convention is part of the 12-day celebrations from January 19 to mark the conclusion of Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations.

Two-day-long international seminars and a devotees’ convention will also be held. The sources said over 15,000 delegates and volunteers were expected to attend the 12-day celebrations at Belur Math.

The Math and Mission authorities have decided to keep the Math closed for the public on January 25, 29 and 30.

“The devotees’ convention will be held on January 27 and 28, while the international seminars will be held on January 25 and 26. The youth convention will be held on January 29 and 30. Only delegates and invitees will be allowed to attend these programmes,” said Swami Suhitananda, general secretary of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission.

Mamata Banerjee is expected to pay a visit on the concluding day of the celebrations, January 30.

A flotilla of 32 launches will sail on the Ganges from Budge Budge to Panihati on January 13 with senior monks, who will perform puja and aarti.