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'Karma to Nirvana' to premier at New York filmfest
April 27, 2011

Vikas KhannaNew York, April 27: "Karma to Nirvana", the second instalment in chef Vikas Khanna's Holy Kitchens documentary series will premiere at the New York Indian Film Festival, the longest-running, most prestigious Indian film festival in the US, on May 7.

"At any given time somewhere on Earth, people are gathering to share food in the name of God. This is spiritual sustenance, meant to bring us closer together and closer to the Creator," says Khanna, whose new Manhattan restaurant, Junoon, recently received two stars in its New York Times review.

"This is the story of Holy Kitchens," adds Khanna saying he was compelled to explore the symbiotic intersection of food and religion in his documentary series by Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy: "God comes to the hungry in the form of food".

"Karma to Nirvana," focuses specifically on Hinduism, Lord Krishna's spiritual practices, and the principles of Karma and Nirvana as set forth in the Bhagavad-Gita.

The film features interviews with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Arun Gandhi, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Shaunaka Rishi Das, Aroon Shivdasani, Lynn McGuire, Scott Carney and Anju Bhargava.

It is written and narrated by Andrew Blackmore-Dobbyn, directed by Anubhav Bhardwaj, and co-directed by Francisco Aguila.

Vikas Khanna's journey in the documentary takes one right into the soup kitchens of Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi's ashram in Kerala, where Amma blesses thousands of people daily with motherly hugs and serves them meals with her own hands.

"True Business," the first film in the Holy Kitchens series focused on the Sikh religion and how its temples provide free food through its kitchens, known as "langars," to everyone who comes, regardless of their beliefs.

With commentary by Dr. Deepak Chopra, the film played to a sold-out audience at New York's Sikh International Film Festival in autumn 2010.

Next year's film is titled "The Moon of Eïd" and will explore Ramadan in the Islamic faith from the Middle East to Europe and across the world.

"Our aim is to make people aware of this commonality of the world's religious traditions and to illuminate the differences in a way that will engender mutual tolerance and respect," says Khanna.

"Taken together, these films are our offering to the dialogue that is meant to create more peace and harmony in the world."


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