Biler Diary: A Peek into Life at Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya

— Sandeep Chatterjee

People who belong to the eastern part of the country will appreciate the fact that the schools run by Ramakrishna Mission are one of the coveted ones. Based on the principles taught by Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna, the schooling system has proliferated to multiple locations. Of course people do argue against them saying that they do not teach life skills. Leaving aside the debate, there is no denying the facts that they have produced some of the most brilliant human beings on earth.

Life at Ramakrishna Mission has been a closely guarded secret not because there is a magic pill but the motto of ‘Simple Living and High Thinking’ has always motivated them to stay away from the limelight. That is the precise reason that there are so many views (some true and some false as well) around life at Ramakrishna Mission.

‘Biler Diary’ is a film which takes us down memory lane. This is not a movie about Ramakrishna Mission but it captures some of the essence of that life. The protagonist of the movie is a small kid who comes to Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya, Narendrapur, leaving behind his parents to start a new chapter. Since any hostel is a melting pot of various cultures and classes, there is an adjustment period. The film revolves around how the junior batch copes with the senior batch through the daily routine. The Maharaj (the people clad in saffron or white) has been depicted as an extremely talented individual and who intervenes only when needed-upholding the values of truth and non-violence. The diary is the medium through which the protagonist dreams and quite surprisingly sees all his dreams come true. At the end, the film shows how the kid has moved on in life and all this happens during a chance meeting at ‘Retreat’, the alumni reunion.

People who have studied in the Ramakrishna Mission schools will be able to relive their childhood while for others, it demystifies some of the myths around Ramakrishna Mission. Though the story line is a little slow in the beginning, but it gains traction as the film progresses. The songs mostly are prayer songs which form the lifeline of the system. The scenes have been shot at the Ramakrishna Mission campus which gives it a more realistic look. The child characters were chosen after an extensive audition across multiple locations in Kolkata. It is heartening to see the portrayal of the universal values of truth, character and integrity.

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About the Author: The author is currently working as an Associate Director with KPMG. The author has a keen interest in films and according to him this has helped him in shaping his consulting career as films provide perspectives.

*Perspective expressed in this article is completely author’s views. HBFF does not take any responsibility in case of any violation of copyright.*