HistoryTV18 showcases new original - Kumbh: Among the Seekers

The documentary on Prayagraj Kumbh Mela premieres on January 29

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 28, 2020 1:57 PM
History TV18

HistoryTV18 is set to present a one-hour special about the Kumbh Mela.

According to official estimates, a staggering 240 million people converged on Prayagraj, formerly the city of Allahabad, over two months. That’s more than three times the number of people that came to New York, the world’s most visited city in 2019, over the entire year.

The documentary takes viewers among the believers and behind the scenes of the Kumbh Mela to find human stories, present jaw-dropping facts, and take a closer look at the gargantuan logistics of the world-famous mega-event. While decoding its present-day avatar, the multi-dimensional narrative also traces the known history and enduring folklore of the centuries-old fair.

The original production, almost a year in the making, captures the breathtaking spectacle of the Kumbh - from build-up, through key phases, to the final day of the seven-week long Mela. Filming by day and night in high definition and 4K, high-speed cameras follow the action, bringing iconic images, unseen perspectives, and revealing details to the screen. The flood plains of Prayagraj and the banks of the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna, and mythical Saraswati rivers, form the stage upon which the drama unfolds.

Scenes of festivity, processions, and thousands of ascetics charging into frigid waters for the holy baths of the Shahi Snaan, are some of the highlights. The changing seasons, myriad moods, vivid colours, and sheer scale, make for a compelling visual feast. The myriad challenges of managing crowds, providing security, and organising basics like food and accommodation, get their due place in the documentary.

Viewers will get a sense of what it takes to pull off history’s biggest religious event. Candid moments and the spectrum of emotions — from anxiety and despair, to hope and joy — play out at the Khoya-Paya (Lost & Found) Centres, in a heart-warming sequence.

Historical archive footage and graphical representations further enrich the factual storytelling. Naga Sadhus, wearing only ash and dreadlocks, akhaaras, pilgrims, foreign visitors, VVIPs, organisers, mounted-police, officials, cooks, volunteers each with a purpose or on a quest, present the many faces of the Kumbh.
In this churning sea of humanity, the narrative zeroes into quiet moments, to tell intimate stories of individuals and what the Kumbh means to them. The varied cast of characters includes a Bollywood cinematographer, a member of the third-gender Kinnar Akhaara, a Sadhvi of American extraction, an artist, and the head of the control and command centre. Along with top-end production values, never-before-seen footage, research, and catchy stats, the film also benefits from the insights of an erudite panel of experts. The cultural historians and authors featured in the film, shine a light on the fascinating nuances, ideas and belief system that are at the heart of the Kumbh Mela — a shared human experience like no other.

‘Kumbh: Among the Seekers’ will premiere on January 29 at 9pm.

Avinash Kaul, MD A+E Networks | TV18 and CEO Network18, says, “At HistoryTV18, we believe in telling stories that are engaging, visually spectacular, as well as relevant for our viewers. ‘Kumbh: Among the Seekers’ is not just a compelling story, it's a celebration of a living wonder, quintessentially Indian yet universal in its appeal. The show does a fabulous job of chronicling a recurring event in our cultural history, which continues to grow and evolve.”

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