DER Documentary

Vaastu Marabu

by Bala Kailasam
color, 52 min, 2004

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The Vishwakarmas, the holders of the architectural and artistic heritage in India, have maintained the skill and the theoretical basis essential for designing and executing almost all aspects of the man-made environment.

Vaastu Marabu documents the theory and practice of the Vaastu tradition of Indian art, architecture, craft and design. One of the foremost shilpis (designer-builder-sculpter) of India, Shri. V. Ganapati Sthapati of Mammallapuram, meditates on his art and his occupation.

The film shows the process of making stone idols at Mammallapuram, near Madras, of casting bronzes in Kumbakonam, and of building stone temples at Kamudhi, near Madurai and at Ratnagiri, near Vellore. It illustrates the continuity of the tradition and reveals a technology that is ancient, yet still relevant today.

The film explores the process of translating inner experience into art, and invites us to experience the naked beauty of the form while understanding the metaphysical message. The art of the Vishwakarma has given form and expression to all denominations of metaphysical thought in India.

While it documents the practical aspects of building a temple or making an idol, the film also probes the underlying scientific and mathematical principles. Temple design is explored, and the meaning of symbols and iconsare examined from the point of view of a shilpi.

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts