Movie Time – Valley Of Flowers – The Zen Universe

Nalin Pandya a.k.a. Pan Nalin, a self-taught filmmaker, was born in a remote village in Gujarat, India. He disliked school, but he was putting his energy into painting and drawing instead. He also actively staged mythological dramas and folk plays during the early years of his adolescence. Nalin also has a great interest in religion and spirituality, themes that are recurring in his films. Pan Nalin came into the global spotlight with his debut feature film SAMSARA. The movie was a commercial and critical success worldwide and won over thirty awards at various film-related events.

While Samsara is the deeper and slower movie, Valley of Flowers is the more intense, more exciting and a more adventurous one. With his second feature, Pan Nalin makes a very daring step in unexplored territories and comes out strong as a bold scriptwriter, a director with exceptional talent and a filmmaker to watch out for.

Valley Of Flowers is a romantic tale based on the myths of the great mountains; is a Himalayan legend of a love struggling against the inevitability of death. It is an astonishing story, spanning from the early 19th-century mountain existence to hectic, bustling modern-day Tokyo. The film is inspired by Alexandra David Neel’s book “Magie d’amour et magic noire”.

Film’s plot is both, complex and simple. It is long, but it has a great story, with well-portrayed characters, awesome cinematic style, and an excellent execution. It is an incredibly great and realistic movie. It might not be for everyone, but it’s truly worth the viewing. Rarely a theme of love, longing, and immortality has been so well depicted before. Excellent costumes, shooting in Ladakh is a difficult task, with really great efforts from the whole crew.

The story does not give us all answers, it tells us tales and riddles. The film is full of codes, most are difficult to decipher unless we pay close attention and have enough knowledge about Buddhism. The film has a lot unsaid, unexplained, left to the speculation of the viewers, but one positive side is that Pan Nalin allows the audience to interact with this epic love story in an honest manner.

The themes in the movie are many – the idea of impermanence and laws of karma, love across ages, death, and immortality, man’s fight against time, human beings in a constant state of seeking equilibrium in love, life, nature and human nature. Valley Of Flowers has Japanese MANGA like quality and interwoven web of deep Asian philosophy. Pan Nalin’s movie would surely add a new angle to many Buddhism based movies.

The film is a great long saga running full 2 hours and 35 minutes, spans two centuries of time, and encompasses diverse geographical settings from the old Tarim Basin’s Silk Road in the Himalayas to the modern day metropolis of Tokyo, interwoven with Himalayan and Buddhist mythology and the mystic art of Tantra.

There are breathtaking moments in Valley of Flowers, like the appearance of Ushna, levitated lovemaking, the valley of silence, time-walk and final climax in Japan. Himalayan landscapes are awesome, with breathtaking landscapes of the Ladakh plateau, the land of passes. Valley of Flowers is a hymn to harmony in nature, balance among demons and humans, good and evil, life and death, black and white. It is a poetic telling of reincarnation and karma.

Valley of Flowers was pre-sold to nearly 35 countries and considered a major underground hit. It still continues to enjoy a multiple-platform release with cult, critical and commercial success worldwide. Valley of Flowers won Best Picture at IFFLA Los Angeles. In 2014 Pan Nalin made it to The Better India’s prestigious list of “25 NRI Across The World Who Have Made India Proud”.”

While Hollywood films usually teach us “true love conquers all,” “Valley of Flowers” has a different perspective on the topic coming from a different culture. It is helpful to understand the basic ideas of Buddhist philosophy in order to understand a lot of the plot turns in the film, but it is not necessary to know all the details to enjoy the movie.

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