Vidyoday, a biographical documentary on the life of Acharya Vidyasagar

 Acharya Vidyasagar

With Ganesh Chaturthi and Paryushan on going, it is indeed a festive time for Hindus and Jains in India, and around the world. Not only is it a time for socialising and celebrations, but also a time to follow spiritual living for many, who take this opportunity to look inward and reflect on the true nature of the world and the meaning of life.

The strength of our nation lies in its pluralistic society, known as an abode to billions of stories with uncountable colours, emotions, traditions, cultures and religions.

Vidhi Kasliwal, of Landmarc Films brings to the table one such real life story, from one of the most ancient religions in India - Jainism, in the form of a biographical documentary based on Acharya Vidyasagar ji called ‘Vidyoday’.

Known both for his scholastic abilities and achievements and his ‘tapasya’, Acharya Vidyasagar is one of the most exalted Digambara Jain Munis (philosopher monks).

‘Vidyoday’, a captivating documentary chronicles the journey of Vidyasagar ji from his childhood to his monasticism and his elevation to Acharyahood (leadership), along with his teachings & his contributions there on to the Jain community and society as a whole.

The film also enlightens us upon the various facets of Jainism as a philosophy, the frugal yet fulfilling lives of Digambara Jain Monks, their main teachings and principles, such as respecting life of all species and ‘ahimsa’ (non-violence).

As director and producer Vidhi, who undertook months of rigorous fieldwork documenting the lives of sky clad monks, has been receiving a lot of appreciation from the people who have seen the documentary. In fact many have described it as not only fascinating but spiritually uplifting as well.

Being instinctive in her selection of films as a producer and for creating a powerful documentary such as ‘Vidyoday’, Vidhi says “I was moved to tears by his aura in the sheer presence of Acharya Shri, this is what drove me to taking on this film. The more I read about him and observed his restraint and discipline, the more in awe I grew of him and his conduct. How could there be such a being in today’s day and age?! It was a difficult project to helm, but I was fortunate to have a wonderful team and we got utmost co-operation from all of Acharya Shri’s pupils and followers all over the country. It took extensive research, intensive fieldwork, strenuous shooting, intricate editing and post-production work by close to 80 people over 1000 days canning 200 hours of footage to complete this 108-minute documentary. And I speak for my entire team when I say this – working on this documentary has been one of the highlights of our careers and it has certainly left each one of us elevated and enriched.”