India, 12th February: Sagar Pictures Entertainment, rooted in the storytelling legacy of Ramanand Sagar, in association with the Manav Ekta Mission, proudly presented the Mumbai premiere of the award-winning documentary ‘Walking With M’ at the Royal Opera House in Mumbai.
The documentary, 7 years in the making, made with over 1800 hours of archival footage, is a cinematic marvel directed by the visionary Akash Sagar Chopra. The 1hr 37min feature, unveiled the monumental journey of Padmabhushan Awardee and Best-Selling Author Sri M, as he embarked on an epic 7,500-kilometer odyssey across India, traversing 11 states from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.
Amidst the cacophony of a divided world, the central plot of ‘Walking With’ is based on one of India’s ancient ideologies scripted in the Rig Veda – ‘Sang Gachattavam’ which translates to, may we walk together – that gave rise to The Walk of Hope 2015-2016, now hailed as the longest peace march in the history of India. Led by of Sri M, Mumtaz Ali (recipient of the Padma Bhushan award in 2020) an Indian spiritual author, educationist, and an advocate for peace, The Walk of Hope or the Asha Yatra marks an arduous journey of 80 travelers who tried to bridge the chasms of discord across India, with the singular aim of bringing the diversity of India together.
At the premiere, Sri M expressed, “We may have differences which cannot be overcome, yet at our core, we’re all human beings and thus one. This timeless wisdom, deeply rooted in our ancient Indian culture, was the message we aimed to share during the ‘Walk of Hope’ padyatra. At its core, “Walking With M” embodies the indomitable spirit of humanity and traces the story behind one man’s unfathomable attempt to ignite a flame of hope and peace in a world gripped by turmoil.”
The Walk of Hope captivated the hearts of millions in India and abroad who joined the movement over a period of 16 transformative months in the year 2015-16. The Yatra was greeted warmly by state chief ministers and the Honorable Prime Minister, who acknowledged and lauded the efforts of Sri M to explore the spirit of India.
“Covering over 7,500km from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, we traversed through diverse villages, towns and cities where we learnt a lot. More than what we could share, we ourselves discovered the true essence of Bharat— which we realised is truly united at its heart.” He further added.
The film maker and director Akash Sagar Chopra, “Walking With M’ stands as a testament to the enduring qualities of the human spirit in the face of adversity. In a world full of violence and discord, the story of Sri M’s walk of hope lends a unique perspective to understanding ‘the other’ who also walks beside you. My attempt with this documentary is to give everyone an opportunity to be part of this transformative 7500km journey and witness an unseen movement of global history— with an experience that leaves you feeling like you’ve walked alongside Sri M and his fellow travelers during the ‘Walk of Hope 2015-2016’ while exploring the diverse, beautiful, and ever-changing landscape of India.”
Resonating with the audience of over 600, a full house at the premiere, the film received a remarkable 7-minute standing ovation. Sagar Pictures Entertainment announced that all proceedings from this film and its collections going forward will be donated to the cause of Manav Ekta Mission.
‘Walking With M’ has garnered international acclaim, with a successful run across 8 European countries, screening at a diverse “community film festival” circuit to reach as many communities as possible. The film has also won several accolades such as Winner of Best Documentary at Film Fest International (Berlin FFI) 2023, Winner of the Global Peace Award at The International Film Festival The Hague, as well as nominations for Best Director of a Documentary, Historical Interest Award, and Best Editing of a Documentary.
The documentary has also been recognized at prestigious film festivals including the Athens International Monthly Art Film Festival, Scandinavian International Film Awards, Stockholm City Film Festival, Paradise Film Festival in Budapest, Film South Asia in Nepal, and the Swedish International Film Festival, where it was honored with the Outstanding Achievement Best Documentary Feature Length award.
‘Walking With M’ is now scheduled to have multiple screenings across many Indian cities and educational institutes, and Sagar Pictures is already in talks with distribution partners for a worldwide release.