[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Blavatsky movie

Jan 31, 2007 09:59 PM
by Cass Silva

        Anyone know anything about this?
  Filming Mme Blavatsky, that ‘much-admired fraud’
Meenakshi Shedde
[ 24 Aug, 2002 2229hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
              RSS Feeds| SMS NEWS to 8888 for latest updates

     MUMBAI: More often than not, people have never known quite what to make of the Russian-American mystic Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. 
Co-founder of the Theosophical Society, Mme Blavatsky remained a puzzle even to her friends like the Irish poet WB Yeats, who once sniffed that she praised a French occultist highly before expelling from the society, “because he sold a love elixir for two francs; had it been 40 francs, I might have overlooked the fact.’’ 
Mme Blavatsky (1831-1891) lived in India for six years from 1879. Her Theosophical Society movement, headquartered in Bombay and subsequently in Adyar, Chennai, later drew notables like Jiddu Krishnamurti and Annie Besant. She soon will be the subject of a feature film called ‘Holy Shadow’. It is to be directed by the Canadian screenwriter-director Patricia Gruben, who recently passed through Mumbai and Chennai researching her subject. 
Director of features such as ‘Deep Sleep’ and ‘Low Visibility’, Ms Gruben is associate professor of film and founder-director of the Praxis Centre for Screenwriters at the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, where a number of scripts have already metamorphosed into feature films. Her own script seems to be nudging out of its chrysalis. 
“Mme Blavatsky was usually described as a complete fraud, but with a kind of admiration,’’ Ms Gruben observes. “I found her fascinating. She was witty, charismatic, very well read and widely travelled. It’s hard to say she was just a crook—she didn’t make money from people. Besides, Einstein kept her books on his desk. She was accused of fraudulent tricks by a disgruntled housekeeper in Adyar and there was a worldwide scandal after Richard Hodgson of the Society for Psychical Research in London, who came to India to investigate the accusations, declared her an impostor and a Russian spy. But eventually she was rehabilitated.’’ 
Ms Gruben, who is interested in the occult, found that Mme Blavatsky’s name kept popping up when she researched the subject, and eventually decided to pursue her case. “She lived in a time of upheavals, colonialism and breakthroughs in science. She was opposed to pure rationalism and Darwin’s theory, believing that it destroyed faith. She was one of the first to popularise Eastern spiritual ideas in the West. In fact, quantum mechanics explores the interrelation between matter and energy, an idea to which many Eastern religions allude.’’ 
The bottom line: would Mme B turn on film producers? “It was clear Mme Blavatsky wasn’t interested in sex; she once announced that she refused to have anything to do with men. Now, ideally you need a love story to raise money for a film,’’ Ms Gruben says wryly. In fact, she is in India to explore the possibility of a coproduction, as well as to meet Indian screenwriters. Her own script is layered and tweaked with contemporary references. 
“Like the reporter in ‘Citizen Kane’, who pieces together the dead man’s life, I have a contemporary Hodgson investigate Mme Blavatsky’s life. My film is largely based on facts, simply because they are so fascinating,’’ Ms Gruben says. Accordingly, her film has characters based on real personalities, including the sceptic A.O. Hume and Damodar Mavalankar, a Brahmin who stoutly defended theosophy. There’s also a scene where Mme B meets Gandhi in London, but no, they don’t discuss men or sex. 
Apparently, they discuss the Bhagavad Gita. Most of the film will be shot in India, and Ms Gruben is optimistic about the potential interest in such a film. “The Theosophical Society still has a worldwide membership, and there may be an interest in the film in India. Jiddu Krishnamurti came up through the T.S., though he later broke with it. He’s not in the film because he was born after Mme Blavatsky died,’’ she says. 
“However, my film is really about a very contemporary quest,’’ she reflects. “We try to reconcile our rational beliefs in science with spiritual questions that cannot be answered. Recent films like Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Magnolia’ have dealt with this too. People long for answers, for something to believe in, even if it is only other people.’’ 

           var RN = new String (Math.random());         var RNS = RN.substring (2,11);         var b2 = ' ';       if (doweshowbellyad==1) bellyad.innerHTML = b2;       {     }            

Finding fabulous fares is fun.
Let Yahoo! FareChase search your favorite travel sites to find flight and hotel bargains.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application