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Sanskrit science documentary ‘Yaanam’ tells the story of India’s Mars mission; Read on…

Mangalyaan, or India’s Mars Orbiter Mission, and its record-breaking successful entry into Martian orbit in the first attempt is a well-known example of frugal engineering and perseverance. ‘Yaanam’ (Sanskrit for journey), a 44-minute documentary, attempts to show the general public what went into the creation of Mangalyaan and the efforts of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) scientists who worked on the mission from the scientists’ perspective.

According to the project’s director, National award winner Vinod Mankara, ‘Yaanam’ is entirely narrated in the ancient Indian language Sanskrit, and it will be the first science documentary ever made in the language. Based on Dr. K.Radhakrishnan’s book ‘My Odyssey,’ the documentary is put together with the help of archival videos of ISRO’s Mangalyaan mission and related developmental activities.

‘There is a common misconception that Sanskrit is only for devotion and scriptures; my first Sanskrit film, ‘Priyamanasam,’ was created to dispel this myth. My second Sanskrit film project, ‘Yaanam,’ has a broader scope. This documentary has been made in such a way that even the average person and those with little exposure to space science can understand it ‘,WION was informed by Vinod Mankara.

Team ‘Yaanam’ made certain that even the ISRO scientists featured in the project spoke in Sanskrit and explained the significance of their work. Dr. Radhakrishnan, former Chairman of ISRO (who held the position during Mangalyaan), and Dr. S. Somanath, Chairman of ISRO (who has held the position since January 2022), are among those who will appear in the project. Vinod adds that this project would not have been possible without the support of ISRO, its Chairman Dr. S. Somanath, and producer Dr. AV Anoop, who funded the niche, a non-commercial project in Sanskrit with English subtitles.

‘I had read Dr. Radhakrishnan’s entire biography, and at one point Vinod (the Director) told me about the documentary idea and also checked with Dr Radhakrishnan (former Chairman, ISRO), and that’s how the project got started. ISRO’s entire team is thrilled, and we plan to host special screenings for the scientific community. Our team completed ‘Yaanam’ in less than three months, and we will have our first screening on Sunday, August 21st’, The project producer, Dr. AV Anoop, told WION.

He also stated that ISRO had provided full support for this project by providing archival footage from the Mangalyaan mission days, permission to film at various ISRO facilities, and access to senior ISRO leadership. Notably, ISRO leaders are seen in this documentary displaying their artistic side.



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