India in Mind

Filmessay by Merle Kroeger & Philip Scheffner

Camera / Sound / Editing: Merle Kroeger & Philip Scheffner
Produced by pong
Year of production: 2006
Format: DV, 42 min, stereo, colour, 16:9
INDIA IN MIND was produced as part of the project: "MOVING SPIRITS"

'INDIA IN MIND' - directors statement:
India holds a promise ever since.
Imagine a gifted marketing strategist centuries back had meticulously collected and distilled the desires of Europeans and given them the brand name: India. Today this would be known as India TM: a global service enterprise with new products and updates, a global phenomena of transnational origin.

Spirituality, philosophy, colours, smells, music all intermingle, producing a jumble that has little to do with the real subcontinent. In fact, this jumble highlights gaps here.
The installation India in Mind deals with these gaps.

The six chapters give an insight into the life of people in Germany who have a special relationship to India: voluntary or involuntary, temporal or continuous. The interfaces between yoga and globalisation are neither coincidental nor do they claim to be representative and complete.

Our attention is focussed on the everyday life of six protagonists: the architecture that surrounds them, the sounds and activities framing this daily life. At which point does their shell becomes permeable for another, an imaginary world? What comes through and what is being

An entrepreneur from Munich practices Yoga for seven years to train her body and mind. She describes herself as a rational being, who learned, through yoga, to live in the here and now. The principles of Jivamukti-Yoga create feedbacks in the material business world.

A teacher at the Mahatma-Gandhi-School in Berlin-Marzahn teaches mathematics and physics. India entered her sight only at the moment students wanted to rename their school in order to make a statement for non-violence.

Frankfurt am Main, a travel agency where locals from the neighbourhood book their holidays to Asia or package tours to Mallorca. Twenty years ago, the owner became
a follower of Baghwan Shree Rajneesh at the legendary ashram in Pune. Today, he integrates the Indian in

The Bollywood Forum is a meeting place for young fans of the Indian the blockbusters they recognise values that they miss in their everyday life: family, love, romance.
A student from Hamburg creates her own world, in which she virtually becomes part of the "Planet Bollywood".

A small village in Brandenburg is the location of an unusual mother-son relation between intimacy and distance. With love and affection a stone-mason renovates the old vicar's house. He has nothing to do with neither esotericism nor Indian spirituality. His mother left for India twenty years ago. She and her two daughters lead a life following the strict rules of a Hindu community.

A German manager works for an Indian IT company in Munich. In his workplace he lives globalisation in a paperless office. In the physical world we move in slower pace then in cyberspace. For the German clients old and new perceptions of India clash.

The installation becomes a winterly roundtrip through Germany. Tableau-like, in long shots, the known becomes permeable for the unknown. Astonishing shifts create changes in what we think we know just because we encounter it everyday. India exists solely as an imaginary place. A magnifying glass through which the persons come closer to the observer - so close, that the context, the surrounding is blurred for a moment.

The audio-visual trip India in Mind could and should take place exclusively in the presence. It is a now in which the world seems smaller, while at the same time our radius becomes bigger. However, it would be wrong to conclude that intimacy is produced by this equation. Fantasies and imagined worlds of the past, attractive as they are alien and distant, have not lost their power. On the contrary, they seem to resist a reality we can actually and physically access.

At this point, the real India and our notion of it become separate realities. Our notion is nourished by desires, dreams and longings generated in our lives here and it is more or less Indian distillates.

The real India remains far away. India TM is here, in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg. In the village, in the city. The distance between the two always remains the same.