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  • Writer's pictureayush devak

'Yaanam' the story of India's Mars mission is the first-ever science documentary in Sanskrit

Mangalyaan or India's Mars Orbiter Mission and its record-breaking successful entry into Martian orbit in the maiden attempt is a tale of frugal engineering and perseverance, which is known far and wide. 'Yaanam' (Sanskrit for journey), a 44-minute documentary is an attempt to show the masses what went into the making of Mangalyaan and the efforts of the Indian Space Research Organization(ISRO) scientists who worked on the mission, from the perspective of the scientists themselves.

According to National award winner Vinod Mankara who directed the project, 'Yaanam' is entirely narrated in the ancient Indian language Sanskrit and this would be the first-ever science documentary to be made in the language. Based on the book 'My Odyssey' by Dr K.Radhakrishnan, the documentary is put together with the support of archival videos of ISRO's Mangalyaan mission and the related developmental activities.

"There is a misconception that Sanksrit is a language that is only meant for devotion and and scriptures, even my first Sanskrit film 'Priyamanasam' was made to break this misconception. Sanskrit language has a wider scope and now 'Yaanam' is my second Sanskrit film project. this documentary has been made in such a way that it can easily be understood for even the common man and those with least exposure to space science" Vinod Mankara told WION.

Team 'Yaanam' has ensured that even the ISRO scientists whose clips are featured in the project, spoke in Sanskrit and explained the significance of their work. Dr Radhakrishnan, former Chairman, ISRO (who served at the top role during Mangalyaan), and Dr S. Somanath, Chairman, ISRO (who is serving in the role since January 2022) are among those who will feature in the project.

Vinod adds that this project would not have materialized without the support of ISRO, its Chairman Dr S. Somanath and producer Dr AV Anoop, who bankrolled the niche, non-commercial project, which is executed in the Sanskrit language and screened with English subtitles.

"I had read the entire biographical account of Dr Radhakrishnan and at one point in time Vinod (the Director) told me about the documentary idea and also checked with Dr Radhakrishnan (former Chairman, ISRO), and that's how the project took off. The entire team ISRO is excited and we will be organizing special screenings for the scientific community. 'Yaanam' is a project that our team completed in less than three months and we will have our first screening on August 21st, Sunday." Dr AV Anoop, the project producer told WION.

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


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