Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Vikas Khanna’s documentary Holy Kitchens – Karma to Nirvana, premieres at the New York Indian Film Festival on May 7 at Tribeca Cinemas

Chef Vikas Khanna Photo by Lia Chang

Chef Vikas Khanna Photo by Lia Chang

Celebrity Chef Vikas Khanna’s documentary Holy Kitchens – Karma to Nirvana, the second installment in the series which focuses specifically on Hinduism, Lord Krishna’s spiritual practices, and the principles of KARMA and NIRVANA as set forth in the Bhagavad-Gita, will premiere at the New York Indian Film Festival on Saturday, May 7, 2011, at 12:30 p.m. in Tribeca Cinemas’ Theater TWO (54 Varick Street). Click here to purchase tickets.

“God comes to the hungry in the form of food,” said the ‘Father of India’ Mahatma Gandhi. It is this philosophy which has compelled Chef Vikas Khanna to explore the symbiotic intersection of food and religion in his documentary series Holy Kitchens. “At any given time somewhere on Earth, people are gathering to share food in the name of God. This is spiritual sustenance, meant to bring us closer together and closer to the Creator,” says Khanna. “This is the story of Holy Kitchens.”

The film features interviews with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Arun Gandhi, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Shaunaka Rishi Das, Aroon Shivdasani, Lynn McGuire, Scott Carney and Anju Bhargava. It is written and narrated by Andrew Blackmore-Dobbyn, directed by Anubhav Bhardwaj, and co-directed by Francisco Aguila. Karma to Nirvana is a Junoon Hospitality presentation.

Vikas Khanna’s journey in the documentary takes us right into the soup kitchens of Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi’s ashram in Kerala, where Amma blesses thousands of people daily with motherly hugs and serves them meals with her own hands. “We have to help the hungry as best we can,” says Amma. “We have to see that feeding the hungry is no less than the worship of God.”

Subsequently, the documentary highlights the magnanimous charity work of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Delhi and other parts of the world. Their “Food for All” programs feed hundreds of thousands of hungry children and adults, and Khanna personally cooks in the ISKCON kitchens in London, as a way for him to give back.

ISKCON’s mid-day meal program in India provides free meals to children in schools, thereby helping them get an education and ensuring a brighter future for them, as well as for India. According to the Bhagavad-Gita, “sharing food is the highest form of Karma.” It is this selfless service to others that eventually leads Hindus to the path to higher spirituality and, thus, to Nirvana.

True Business, the first film in the Holy Kitchens series focused on the Sikh religion and how its temples provide free food through its kitchens, known as “langars,” to everyone who comes, regardless of their beliefs. With commentary by Dr. Deepak Chopra, the film played to a sold-out audience at New York’s Sikh International Film Festival in fall 2010. Next year’s film is titled The Moon of Eïd and will explore Ramadan in the Islamic faith from the Middle East to Europe and across the world.

“Our aim is to make people aware of this commonality of the world’s religious traditions and to illuminate the differences in a way that will engender mutual tolerance and respect,” says Khanna. “Taken together, these films are our offering to the dialog that is meant to create more peace and harmony in the world.”

For more information about the Holy Kitchens series, upcoming films, and screening schedules, visit http://www.holykitchens.com. Click here to purchase tickets.

About Vikas Khanna: Vikas Khanna was raised in Amritsar, India, where he grew up surrounded by large family feasts, the seasonal produce fresh from the fields of Punjab, and of course, his grandmother’s traditional home cooking. It was at his grandmother’s side that he began to learn the intricacies of Indian cuisine. He started his own catering business, Lawrence Gardens, at the age of 17. His current restaurant work includes Junoon Restaurant, the Café at the Rubin Museum of Art, and Flavors and Feasts Catering. Upon his graduation from the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Vikas went on to train under renowned chefs of Taj Group of Hotels, Oberoi, Leela Group, and many more. He has authored several books including “The Spice Story of India” and “Modern Indian Cooking.” His next book, “Flavors First,” will be published in 2011 by Lake Isle Press. His following book is titled “Return to the Rivers: A Culinary Pilgrimage Through the Himalayas,” with a foreword by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama. Vikas has also been a guest judge and chef on Gordon Ramsay’s television shows for Fox, Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares, Food Network and the Martha Stewart Show among others. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards and is also an honorary member of many foundations, including the World Peace Society. www.vkhanna.com.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Samrat Chakrabarti stars in Soham Mehta’s Fatakra, Shiva Shankar Bajpai’s Raju, and Rehana Mirza’s Zameer & Preeti at NYIFF
11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), May 4-8, 2011
Nan Melville’s Documentary ‘Nrityagram: For the Love of Dance’ screens at the Newport Beach Film Festival on May 3
The Dish on Susur Lee and Shang
Up Close and Personal with Darren Pettie, Star of The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore
House of Payne’s Denise Burse on the 2011 NAACP Image Awards & Season 7; “Shout Out” Episode airs April 20
André De Shields stars in Chicago Premiere of Charles Smith’s The Gospel According to James at Victory Gardens 5/14-6/12
32nd Annual Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Festival at Union Square Park in NYC on May 8, 2011
Join Minami Tamaki LLP & Inspirational Opportunities for Youth and Seniors (IOYS) in Helping Victims of Japan Earthquake
Ruby Dee, Alicia Keys, Sidney Poitier among honorees at Woodie King, Jr.’s New Federal Theatre’s 40th Anniversary Gala at Edison Ballroom on May 22
MIAAC Screens Ashes & The Waiting City, two films featuring Samrat Chakrabarti at SVA Theater on 11/12/10
Actor Samrat Chakrabarti Receives 2010 TMG Award for Global Achievers
Samrat Chakrabarti is Featured in Claire McCarthy’s The Waiting City Which Screens at the Toronto International Film Festival
Photo Call: BD Wong and the Cast of Heading East at the Asia Society
Multimedia-Photos and Video: Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas- In the Makeup Chair with Thom Sesma
Lunch at The Modern, A Stroll Through The Conservatory Garden in Central Park
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and Master Chef Martin Yan at the 5th Annual Top 100 Chinese Restaurants in the USA Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

As a photographer and videographer, Lia collaborates with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive and social media presence. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden. Lia currently plays Nurse Lia on “One Life to Live”. She has appeared in Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and “New York Undercover”.

Selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space are now in the newly created LIA CHANG THEATER PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.

Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre, Broadwayworld.com, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle, Timeout.com, Villagevoice.com, Playbill.com, Theatermania.com, thelmagazine.com, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for AsianConnections.com. She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2011 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow Backstage Pass with Lia Chang on WordPress.com