Bombay Times

‘A Journey To The Top Of The World’
by Dilnaz Boga
(Bombay Times. July 12, 2000)

Scene from movie 'Kundun' - ceremony with young Dalai Lama

From The Film Kundun

To celebrate the birthday of the XIV Dalai Lama and to commemorate World Tibet Day, Friends of Tibet (INDIA) screened three films on Tibet to spread awareness about the Tibetan cause.

Kundun, an oscar-nominated best musical score, directed by Martin Scorsese, was screened at the Coomaraswamy Hall, on July 8, 2000. Kundun is based on the true story of the discovery and the transformation of the fourteenth Dalai Lama from a two-year-old boy to a human being with a world of humanity and an 'Ocean of Wisdom'. (which is what the word Dalai Lama translates to). The film explores the basic tenets of Buddhism, traces the pain and the suffering of the Tibetan people and the reveals the pain and hard decisions that the Dalai Lama has to make to preserve Tibet's people and their culture. The film chronicles the Lama's life through the Chinese invasion of 1950, to his final escape into exile in India. The film is further enhanced by the haunting musical score by Philip Glass and the unforgettable photography by Roger Deakins.

Escape From Tibet is a touching documentary, directed by Nick Grey, about the resilience of two brothers travelling with a group of young Tibetans along the treacherous terrains of the Himalayan range. Travelling on foot, many die because of the unbearable weather conditions, and hunger. They have to trek through Nepal to arrive in India to escape the Chinese and also to fulfill their dream of meeting with the Dalai Lama. Every year, hundreds of Tibetans try to escape Chinese occupied Tibet and arrive in Dharamsala.

The Saltmen Of Tibet written and directed by Ulrike Koch, has won awards like Best Film at the Tourmina Independent Film at the Pusan Film Festival, in 1997. This is a tale of four men leading a yak caravan for months to bring home salt, a very important source of survival. This film serves as a commentary on the dying tradition of salt collectors in Northern Tibet. Ceaselessly, they travel for three months braving harsh weather conditions to arrive at the sacred salt lake. They believe that they will only get salt if they have not displeased the gods by their actions. These ethnic Tibetans even have a secret salt language that only the male members of the tribe use to converse. After loading the salt into their herd of yaks, they offer a prayer of thanks to the gods. These nomadic, rustic folk betray their purity of mind and spirit and leave us satiated with their purity of mind and spirit and leave us satiated with their immense respect and consideration for nature.