Swamiji is a 2012 laser documentary directed and produced by Manick
Sorcar. Based on the life story of
(1863-1902), it is the first laser documentary made on an individual
and the first full-length laser documentary ever to be shown in a
performing arts center.
The documentary was produced on a budget of $125,000, utilizing eight
LED lights, smoke and haze machines, video projectors, a
surround sound system, donated voice talent, song, animation modeling,
and animation drawn by Manick Sorcar. The laser show was preceded by a
Sanskrit prayer to the Holy Trio (Paramhansa Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi,
Swami Vivekananda), and ‘Vandana’, based on a composition of
Vivekananda in Bengali. The prayer and Vandana were live
performances in combination with laser animation and atmospheric
effects. In total, combined with the 56 minute laser documentary, the
show had a running time of 75 minutes.
Ramakrishna Missions and Vedanta Societies around the world
praised the documentary for its accurate depiction of Swami
Vivekananda’s life. The production was shown in dozens of cities in
India and the United States.
7 External links
The documentary begins with a slide show of an old pictorial book
displaying black and white original scenes of 1893 World's Columbian
Swamiji at the Parliament of the World's
Religions delivering his famous speech starting with "Sisters and
brothers of America". As the audience gives a standing ovation, a gust
of wind flipped the pages to the beginning of the storybook, where
pictures come to life with bright multi-colored laser animation and 3D
effects. The documentary included several of the major stages in Swami
Vivekananda’s life including his birth, youth, meeting with his
spiritual leader Sri Ramakrishna, taking his monastic vows, traveling
across India as a penniless, itinerant monk, traveling to the United
States as the first
Hindu monk to speak at the Parliament of the
World’s Religions, introducing yoga, lecturing around the United
States and other countries, founding the
Ramakrishna Mission, and
ultimately leaving behind a huge legacy.
The making of
Swamiji spanned six years, starting from Manick Sorcar's
visit to the Art Institute of
Chicago in 2006, when he was inspired
to make the laser documentary on the philosopher-monk and started
doing research on the subject with the help of the Art Institute
library and the State Government of Illinois. The following years
entailed research, building the storyboard, and developing the
corresponding 3D special effects. The final production incorporated
several color lasers, animation and atmospherics synchronized with
intelligent lighting, haze machines, and surrounding sound system to
present the mystical life story of the great monk. The objective of
the unique laser show was to relive and spread the message of Swami
Vivekananda of the 19th century in the light of the 21st century.
There are two songs in it. The lyrics for "Mano Chalo Nijo Niketane"
were written by Ajay Udayanath Pakrashi and sung by Anindya Basu; and
the lyrics for "Prabhuji Mero Awagun Chit Na Dharo" were written by
Surdas, and sung by Durga Rahul.
In India, the premier took place on 10 October 2012 at the Grand
Theater of Science City, Kolkata the largest science center in the
Indian subcontinent under National Council of Science Museums,
Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The show was organized by
Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata and inaugurated
by Ms. Kumari Selja, Minister for Culture, Housing & Urban
Poverty Alleviation, Government of India, who lit the lamp followed by
Vedic Chanting by
Ramakrishna Mission devotees. In the United States,
the premiere took place on 24 August 2013 at the Colorado Height
University Theater, Denver, Colorado, organized by SEWA International,
On 20 January 2013 it was nationally telecast in India by the ABP
Ananda News Channel of Anandabazar Patrika, Kolkata.
The show has been widely acclaimed by critics. The
Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math, Howrah, India said "It was as if
he was painting the events of Swamiji’s life with a paintbrush
before our eyes. It was fascinating." The show took place on 31
January 2014 at
Belur Math campus, attended by 15,000 people. The
Times of India wrote: "the documentary uses cutting-edge laser
technology to transport the audience to a world where art fuses with
In a review of the show in Delhi,
"It is difficult to express in words the quality of production. Apart
from the very impressive display of laser technique, what really
gladdened our hearts was the accuracy, authenticity and the
appropriate nature of the choice of incidents, music, narration,
etc...It gives wonderful glimpse of his work in the West as well as in
India. It highlights some of the most important and soul-stirring
messages of Swamiji. In our view the Western audience would appreciate
the show even more because
Swami Vivekananda's message of harmony has
been beautifully highlighted."
In a review of the show in Houston, Texas, Indo American News wrote:
"The sixth annual fundraiser of Sewa International held at the
Stafford Center on Sept 8 was a resounding success being a totally
sold out event thanks to the featured attraction, Manick Sorcar’s
one of-a-kind unique laser documentary on the life of Swami
Vivekananda. [...] The audience was spellbound and proved to be very
emotional for several and the Houston crowd honored him with a
Voice of Asia TV News wrote: "A pencil torch emitting laser light
turned into a magic wand and the magic of light brought to life the
ever green story of a world famous monk, known as
The expectant audience, unfamiliar with the technique of laser show,
was perhaps looking for a miracle and miracle, indeed, occurred as
ships sailed, trains arrived, men and women walked and children
played, all walks of life continued, bound and shaped by sheer
light…The art of cartoon and animation reached its zenith in the
hands of the reputed Laserist Manick Sorcar."
At the 25th
International Laser Display Association Annual Conference
on 6 November 2013 in Aalen, Germany,
Manick Sorcar received the
Special Achievement Award for Cultural Enlightenment". He was
"Awarded for exceptional merit in using laser display to celebrate
India’s heritage, and to prepare the next generation by introducing
a course on laser art and animation and establishing the Manick Sorcar
Laser Animation Laboratory at Jadavpur University".
^ a b c d "
Swami Vivekananda's life depicted in laser". The Hindu.
Retrieved 9 June 2014.
^ "Of lasers and monks: Arvada engineer, artist illuminates a great
soul". The Denver Post. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
^ a b "
Swami Vivekananda's life depicted in laser". The Times of
India. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
^ "Science merges with art in laser tribute to Vivekananda". Zee News.
Retrieved 9 June 2014.
^ a b "Laser show on Swamiji". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 June
^ "Pravrajika Brahmaprana interviewed on Public Radio". Ramakrishna
Vedanta Society of North Carolina. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
Manick Sorcar at His Best – Laser Documentary on Swami
Vivekananda". Indo American News. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
^ "Lavish laser show throws light on
Swami Vivekananda". Voice of Asia
Online. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
^ "Indian-American honored for laser displays of Indian heritage". The
Times of India. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
Swamiji Official Website
Prayer to Kali at Dakshineswar
Swami Vivekananda's travels in India (1888–1893)
Relationship with Ramakrishna
Parliament of the World's Religions
Parliament of the World's Religions (1893)
Works and philosophy
Teachings and philosophy
Vivekananda and meditation
Influence and legacy of Vivekananda
Lectures from Colombo to Almora
The East and the West
"Kali the Mother"
"My Play is Done"
The Hymn of Samadhi
The Song of the Sannyasin
To the Fourth of July
Nachuk Tahate Shyama
"Buddhism, the Fulfilment of Hinduism"
Christ, the Messenger
Religion not the crying need of India
Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached
Atmano mokshartham jagat hitaya cha
Bahujana sukhaya bahujana hitaya cha
Vedanta Society (New York)
Disciples and friends
Ajit Singh of Khetri
J. J. Goodwin
John Henry Wright
Sara Chapman Bull
Vivekananda Rock Memorial
National Youth Day (India)
Vivekananda Road metro station
Swami Vivekanand Nagar
Vivekananda statue (Golpark, Kolkata)
150th birth anniversary of
Vivekananda Youth Employment Week
named after Vivekananda
Swami Vivekanand Technical University
Vivekananda Centenary College
Vivekananda Subharti University
Swami Vivekanand University, Madhya Pradesh
Vivekanda Degree College, Kukatpally
Vivekananda Degree College, Puttur
Vivekananda Global University
Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya
Vivekananda Vidya Mandir
Books on Vivekananda
Vivekananda on Himself
Life and Philosophy of
Notes of some wanderings with the
Swami Vivekananda: Messiah of Resurgent India
Vivekananda in the West: New Discoveries
Rousing Call to
The Master as I Saw Him
Sankari Prasad Basu
Mani Shankar Mukherjee