Argentine’s accidental tryst with Vivekananda

Argentine’s accidental tryst with Vivekananda

It’s September 1983,Swami Vivekananda is all set for his speech at Chicago’s Art Institute for the World’s Parliament of Religions.

It’s September 1983,Swami Vivekananda is all set for his speech at Chicago’s Art Institute for the World’s Parliament of Religions. The dignitaries and religion leaders from all over the world,who were waiting for the Hindu sage to speak,get a small soft drink break and Vivekananda,too,took a sip from the family pack bottle.

At Kolkata’s historic Town Hall on a warm summer afternoon of 2012,the cast and crew of The Light-Swami Vivekananda shot one of the most significant scenes of the film. And among the foreign dignitaries was an Argentine national with very close ties to the city. Matias Carballido,wore a sherwani and sat for hours as director Tutu Sinha gave instructions to Vivekananda and the rest of the cast. At times,if one could ignore his Indian attire,he looked like a picture-perfect saint very calmly listening to a young man with a lot of wisdom.

“I come to Kolkata every year and stay here for around three months. The rest of the time I keep travelling around the world,” Matias said. He is practically a resident of India as he stays at a rented place at Assi Ghat in Varanasi. “I like this country. There is something really attractive about this place which has made me stay here. People are very warm and the hospitality one gets is unbelievable,” the 33-year-old said.

When asked about his acting stint,Matias shares a hearty laugh. And apparently this is not the first time that this native of Cordoba in Argentina has been wearing costumes,getting make-up done and hearing the words — “light,sound,camera and action”. “Whenever I come to Kolkata,I stay at Sudder Street. There you have people,who act as agents for the film industry people,and are constantly fishing for foreigners interested in a day or two’s stint in movies for decent pay. For Rs 2,000 a day and food,one gets a chance to appear in a film. I had also appeared in another film,last time I was here. I don’t remember the name though,” he says.


However,this Argentine actor by chance is happy this time for a different reason.

“In a way,it’s a privilege to be able to be part of this film. I think this is the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda and it feels good to be able to be a part,however little it is,of such a grand felicitation of the great Indian leader who became a global figure,” Matias says,after director Tutu Sinha shouts “pack up”,which is followed by a round of applause from the crew.

Sinha said: “There have been many films on the life of this great monk which,I feel,were not complete. In “The Light”,I have taken many unexplored moments of Vivekananda’s life. I think the viewers will like it as the tale of Vivekananda has been told in such a way that it does not become a lecture but a medium to understand the sage’s values and follow them in their lives.

‘The Chicago sequence’,a landmark event in Vivekananda’s life which propelled him as a global figure,was scheduled to be shot in the US. However,permission woes and availability of Town Hall made the decision easier for the director,who decided to shoot the sequence in Kolkata itself.