First television serial on Maa Sarada’s life
In the first such work on the life of Maa Sarada, who is also reverentially called as 'Sri Ma' by followers of the Ramakrishna Monastic order, a television soap will now trace her life and work.
"We have been guided by books by popular writer Sanjib Chattopadhyay, who is known for his research on Maa Sarada and Thakur's (Ramakrishna Paramahansa) lives and also offering his guidance to us. We are consutlting books by Swami Vivekananda and Swami Gambhirananda Maharaj," Director of Jagat Janani Maa Sarada Susanta Bose said.
"The Belur Math authorities have positively responded and recommended we follow Gambhirananda Maharaj's writings and this we are doing as advised by Sanjib Chattopadhyay, whose research-based writings on Sri Ma, Ramakrishna and Vivekananda in different publications have been appreciated by the Ramakrishna Monastic Order monks and scholars," Susanta said.
Aware that there could be criticism from section of Bengalees who are touchy about their icons like Ramakrishna and Sri Ma,Susanta said, If there are constructive criticisms we will bow our head and rectify. But there had been no half-hearted effort on our part. I have told my actors to adhere to a routine of discipline during the entire period of shoot.
A life with no distraction and a reverential life. Young TV actor Arpita Mondal, who will be essaying the role of Maa Sarada, said I have been able to eliminate the restiveness and distraction from mind by sitting solitary in a dark room for hours eery day, reading relevant books by monks and Sanjib Chattopadhyay and doing meditation every day and whenever I wear the typical white cotton saree and let my hair loose like her, I feel I have shifted to that trance ( Bhab ) through my words and behaviour, even off camera. I feel like divinely blessed." Pointing out she is a little bit afraid how she will be taken by the audience, Arpita said There had never been any work centred on her life, To my knowledge, there had been works on Ramakrishna and Vivekananda instead where she had been referred to. Arpita was ready to forego normal life of a girl hanging around at malls or watching films at multiplexes with friends and said if she was accepted by the audience as the on-screen 'Sri Ma' she will think her silent prayers to Maa Sarada and Sri Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa were being answered. Suman Kundu, young actor essaying Ramakrishna s role, said I am trying to grasp the magnitude of his personality, his philosophy.. And I felt overwhelmed once going through the pages of Kathamrita. I could not read continuously at one go." "From Kathamrita to Lilaprasanga and How to Live with God : In the company of Ramakrishna by Chetanananda, I have been reading all these books apart from being guided by Sanjib Chattopadhyay whom I had even called up in the middle of night to clear some confusion," he said. When contacted, trustee member and Secretary Dakshineswar Kali temple, Kusal Chowdhury said, "While any endeavour to revive our interest in Maa Sarada is welcome, we hope there is no compromise on authenticity since the sentiments of crores of devotees are involved. While the serial episodes had been shot in different districts of Bengal and in city studio, the director had to omit real life places like Joyrambati and Kamarpukur. I agree shooting in Kamarpukur, Joyrambati would have added another dimension to the scenes but the crowd of pilgrims every day would have made it difficult to shoot.