Work with MTV Italy

My brother was working with MTV Italy as Italian interpreter asked me if I would assist them in Benares and Allahabad. They were making a documentary called Camminando which was joint production of MTV Italy and LA 7 (Channel 7). They were in Lucknow when they contacted me and their next stop was Allahabad where they wanted to shoot Patalpuri temple and Ghats of Allahabad but they did not anyone there. Even they did not know whom they will shoot.

Then they contacted me to choose their characters and schedule appointment with them for interview. I had only 4 days to complete everything for Benares and Allahabad part. I contacted Mr. Shubhranshu Chowdary who was my boss during CBC documentary to ask about if he knew someone in Allahabad. He gave me contact of a journalist in Benares. I contacted him and he gave me contact of another journalist in Allahabad.

I went to Allahabad next day and met him. We visited all the places MTV wanted to shoot, met the people and scheduled appointment for interviews. They wanted to shoot in Patalpuri temple also which was inside the Akbar’s fort and now it was army base camp. We tried to contact army officers but it seemed long process to me and I did not have much time. Finally I left everything on that journalist and returned to Benares because I had to do the same work in Benares also.

They wanted to shoot Sadhus, Babas and Aghoris in Benares. I went to the Kina Ram monastery first, which is head office of Aghor society, but could not get permission because few TV channels had already done shooting there and edited the video with asking them. They added the shots that were not shot inside the monastery. I was told that Aghoris use alcohol during their rituals, eat dead body flesh and do sex with it which I asked them but they said that it is all rumor, there is nothing like it.

So finally when I realized that they would not let me shoot there I talked them for long time asking about their society so that I could get some idea about their society because the things that we know about Aghoris are completely different than reality. They were so helpful, they answered my each and every question but did not permit me to shoot there. I visited few other Aghor monasteries also and everybody had same opinion about Aghor society – nobody eat dead body flesh and do sex with it anymore.

I went to Bhagwan Avdhoot Ram Ashram which is at other side of Ganga and found it very interesting. They have a hospital that has its name in Guinness Book of World Records for treating most number of leprosy patients in the world, a school for street children, a library and a press. They were so nice but they were also considered about letting MTV Italy came and shoot inside monastery. They also knew about what had happened with Kina Ram monastery. I had to talk to lots of people and finally some how I was able to make them agree to let us shoot there.

I went to few other monasteries as well who were willing to be shooted. I went to one monastery that had a lot of Italian Aghoris but they did not know anything. I showed them question sheet but they were not able to answer any of those questions about Aghora even they were living in the same monastery since last 5 years, 7-8 months every year. But they wanted to be shooted anyhow, they were not interesting for me but very interesting for MTV. MTV said that they would be so happy to shoot a Italian Aghori.

MTV wanted to shoot a Aghori character that could eat dead body flesh on camera. It was very hard to find characters like this because Aghoris said that they used to eat it but not anymore. They said it was prohibited about 400 years ago by Baba Kina Ram and if anybody still eats dead body flesh it means he is not real Aghori. They said that motive of Aghor society is to help people and if the continue doing this then nobody will come to them, I believe it. But I knew where I could find these kind of characters, I contacted my few friends near the funeral place and they got me meet to one Aghori who was agree to eat dead body flesh.

That Aghori said that he does a special puja which is called Mahabhog once in a year when he eats dead body flesh and use it during special puja but would do another puja specially for MTV. It was shocking for me to see what people could do just for money. He gave me a list of all the materials that he wanted to use for puja and 2 bottles of whisky was one of them. I asked him where would he find dead body from and his answer was- dont take any tension, I would arrange it.

He said that when somebody dies in any accident, Police gets the body cremated in electric burner. Usually they give the body to Doams, people who work at funeral place, and go back so he could take some part of heirless body. It was most shocking moment of my life to meet a person who was talking about eating dead body flesh. MTV Italy was happy to hear that there was a person agree to eat dead body flesh and they informed their head office about it in Rome but they were forbidden because Rome office said that they will not get permission to show a person eating dead body flesh on air.

Finally MTV Italy reached Benares after completing Allahabad’s part and we started shooting in Benares. We did shooting with all the character including a Baba called Lali Baba. He was very interesting character, had two skulls, wears more than 350 necklaces all the time that weights over 40 KG, does all kind of things that I had never seen before in my life. MTV said that Lali Baba was the best character of the documentary. I was happy to meet him, he was a nice person. We did shooting with Mother Teresa Home also.

Finally they left Benares. They were most unorganized people I had ever worked with. They did not have any schedule, did not know what to do in Benares right before 4 days of coming here, did not know anyone, did not know anything about the characters they wanted to shoot. Later my brother informed me that the whole crew members were arrested in Khajuraho for shooting inside the temples where nobody is allowed carry even a camera. The whole group jumped inside the temple from back wall and got arrested. They were in jail for more than 8 hours. No words to say how unorganized were they.

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