BY MAHADEV DESAI
Atlanta, GA: To express appreciation of its “Dollars a Day” members, The Sanatan Mandir of Atlanta, hosted an Atlanta premiere of the heart-tugging, modern Gujarati movie, Saptapadii ,The movie was screened at Lefont Theater in Sandy Springs, GA on Sunday June 2.
Prior to the screening of the movie, the Trustee and Board of Governors, Dr.Prakash Desai welcomed all and praised the popular and critically acclaimed movie, which has been produced by Amitabh Bachchan’s ABCL Corporation in association with Saraswati Creations and Splash Productions. Amitabh Bachchan, who is the brand ambassador of Gujarat tourism, is also trying to promote Gujarat’s rich culture through outstanding Gujarati movies like Saptapadii. From his past experience of watching Gujarati movies, Dr. Desai was skeptical about Saptapadii but after watching it in New Jersey, he was so impressed that he decided to screen a premier show in Atlanta, under the auspices of Sanatan Mandir.He said that the movie is doing extremely well not only in India but worldwide.” In Mumbai this movie has been screened successfully for twelve weeks in a row! It is gaining in popularity in US also through promotion by TV Asia, Share and Care Foundation etc. and screenings by Indian-American organizations. It should be a matter of pride that Boston resident Chandrakant Shah has written the screenplay and dialogues along with Kajal Oza Vaidya and Niranjan Thade, who has also directed the movie. Sadly there are very few outstanding Gujarati movies. Compared to Bollywood, Gujarati movies are few in numbers and rather poor in their overall appeal,” he lamented. “But things are changing and under the encouragement and support of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi good movies are round the corner”. On a separate note, he informed the audience about the “Dollar a Day” program launched by the Sanatan Mandir with an aim to generate funds to maintain and provide better and efficient temple services to the community. Due to economic downturn there was a slowdown in the Temple project but now the plans are almost ready and with funds and support implementation will be back on track.Dr.Desai thanked the owners of Lefont Theater George and Donna Lefont and theater’s staff.
The Chairman, BOG, Bipin Changela thanked the audience for attending the screening of the movie. He thanked Dr.Prakash Desai for initiating the “Dollar a Day” program and informed the gathering that 49 members had enrolled the program before the screening of the movie and ten new members had enrolled immediately thereafter. He appealed for more enrollments from the audience.
The title saptapadii means seven vows taken by a newlywed couple during a Hindu wedding ceremony. Siddharth (Manav Gohil) and Swati (Swaroop Sampat) are a wealthy and happily married Gujarati couple in their forties. To celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary they go to breathtaking scenic Saputara hill station, with a spectacular waterfall, a beautiful lake surrounded by lush hills and green trees. Swati while on a morning stroll meets a nine year old traumatized orphan boy Mohsin (Heet Samani).Mohsin is living at a retreat in Saputara where he is in care of genial Dr.Patrawala (Utkarsh Mazumdar).Mohsin is full of bottled up fear and consequently while playing with other children resorts to tantrums and occasional violent acts to express his anger and frustration. As he is not communicative with Swati, she goes to Dr.Patrawala to find out the reason for Mohsin’s odd behavior. She wants to help Mohsin. Dr.Patrawala is sympathetic but due to some reason which he refuses to disclose advises her to keep away from Mohsin. Siddharth too doesn’t like Swati getting involved with Mohsin, as he is obsessed with expanding his business empire. He offers money to Dr.Patrawala to pay for Mohsin’s medical help but the latter refuses. While Siddharth is away to clinch a business deal he gets a phone call from the Police warning him that both he and Swati should keep away from Mohsin. Siddharth is worried about damage to his reputation and business due to Swati’s obstinacy. When he returns to Saputara he and Swati have intense arguments, and Siddharth leaves her. Their daughter Shreya (Shailee Shah), studying in US flies to Saputara where her mom, in a heart to heart talk, explains the reason why Siddharth left her. She told Shreya that until now she had given 100% to her marriage and family and all she was expecting now was a mere 2% to do what she wanted to do. Shreya understands and tries to bring her parents together. Swati’s determination brings about a slow change in Siddharth’s thinking. He realizes that a businessman has to be sensitive and responsible to the society around him. Even some of his Board members stress Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a moral obligation.
Why was Mohsin so fearful? Why did Police warn Siddharth and Swati to keep away from Mohsin? Was Swati able to cure Mohsin? Was there a happy ending? Please watch the movie to find out!
Saptapadii is entertaining and informational and with a message of giving back to the society. It has English sub-titles. It is a woman-centric film. So far it has been screened in seven major festivals-including Mumbai; Canada; Jaipur;New Zealand; Australia; and Japan .
Swaroop Sampat has won Miss India title in 1979 and in the same year represented India in Miss World Contest. She is a noted model, and theater, T/V and film actress, who went to Worcester,UK. to do a Ph.D. in “training teachers in teaching Dyslexic children via education through drama.” She has been working with disabled children in rural Gujarat for many years. Now she works on a regular basis in the tribal areas of Gujarat. The role of Swati in this movie is a perfect fit for her and she has done full justice to her role with her magnificent performance. Kudos to noted T/V actor Manav Gohil and child actor Heet Samani in his brilliant debut role.
The movie is directed by Niranjan Thade with exquisite cinematography by Navneet Misser(India)who handled the camerawork and Mike Lennon who shot the USA sequences. The Worldwide Distributors of the movie are Dr.Devdatt Kapadia and Mrinal Kapadia.
Sanatan Mandir, formerly known as ICRC temple, has been serving the religious needs of the community since 1986 and is the 2nd oldest temple in Metro Atlanta. It celebrates all Hindu Festivals and also offers planned regular activities every Sunday & every 4th Saturday of the month. It is the religious wing of oldest and well known “India American Cultural Association”. Sanatan Mandir’s past and present dedicated, committed and focused Officers Drs. Prakash and Usha Desai;Devyani Desai, Bharatbhai and Gita Kotecha, Bipin Changela, Chaitanya Bhatt; Dr..Yogesh and MadhuJoshi;Nikhil Mainthia; and volunteers Mustafa Ajmeri,Dr.Ashok Desai,Suvas Patel greeted the patrons as they arrived,manned the ticket desk and courteously seated them inside the cinema
‘Saptapadii’ is definitely a ‘Must watch’ Gujarati movie !