Something unique is happening in India's prisons - something that could spread beyond the country's borders to affect penal systems around the world.
The goal: to rehabilitate, to reclaim and reform people who would otherwise be lost to society and to themselves. Too often, though, efforts to bring lasting change have failed - at least until now.
This is the story of an ancient meditation technique named Vipassana, which shows people how to take control of their lives and channel them toward their own good. It is the story of a strong woman named Kiran Bedi, the former Inspector General of Prisons in New Delhi, who strove to transform the notorious Tihar Prison and turn it into an oasis of peace. But most of all it is the story of prison inmates who underwent profound change, and who realized that incarceration is not the end but possibly a fresh start toward an improved and more positive life.
These people have shown that reform can work if it is self-reform. Their success has been so dramatic that recently the Indian Government decided to recommend that Vipassana be introduced in to all the prisons in the country.
The filmmakers spent about two weeks inside Tihar Central Prison in New Delhi and Baroda Jail in the Indian state of Gujarat. They interviewed inmates and jail officials, and filmed in places rarely accessible to film crews, whether Indian or foreign.
"Golden Spire" - San-Francisco International Film Festival, 1998 (In giving Doing Time, Doing Vipassana its top honor, the jury "was moved by this insightful and poignant exposition on Vipassana. The teaching of this meditation as a transformation device has many implications for people everywhere, providing the cultural, social and political institutions can embrace and support its liberating possibility.")
"Finalist Award" - New York Film Festival, 1998
"Silver Plaque" award - INTERCOM, The International Communications Films & Video Compertition, Chicargo, 1998
PBS - United States
Channel 8 - Israel
YLE - Finland
NHK - Japan
PAL VHS Video, 52 minutes
Produced by Karuna Films