Gloria Kurnik | Visual Storyteller | Documentary filmmaker (director, preditor and camerawoman) based in Asia.

Living the Love – Documentary about Thaipusam

February 28, 2014
Documentary, Film, Video

thaipusam red 2 def 4


Every religion has its culture of atonements and vows. Bigger the wish or deeper the gratitude, more eager is the follower to undertake an arduous and grueling journey. A Christian would walk miles on his knees out of faith. A Buddhist would prostrate and crawl on her stomach to gain her inner peace. A Muslim would self-flagellate to convey his sorrow while a Hindu would renounce the things she loves most out of devotion. But some take it even further.

Piercing the body out of faith is a custom in most of the older religions. Though it may induce fear, doubt and anxiety, it is also associated with a certain sense of mysticism and spirituality. I witnessed Thaipusam – the magical Hindu festival where devotees in a state of trance, painlessly carry offerings and symbols of faith in the form of heavy burdens (milk pots, kavadi, karagam) and/or have a range of intriguing attachments hooked to their body. But beyond the images of unbelievable crowds and fanfare, I also witnessed love, trust and devotion merging into an expression of faith through self-sacrifice. For many, Thaipusam is all about the flourish and the obscure customs. For many tourists, it is the defining evidence of the unique multi-cultural life in Malaysia. For many amateur photographers, it’s one of those places where you capture that ‘one’ unforgettable picture.

For me it’s a story of love. I decided to capture this event through the eyes of a couple – a, married childless couple who apart from their love for their God have been loving each other for 9 long years. It’s a personal story and a personal journey…

karagam red 2 def

kavadi red 2 def


Greatest thanks to the people without whom the production of this video wouldn’t be possible: Malliga, Murugan, Paulius, Sayan, Chris, Ragu and Durai.


// Director/DP/Editor: Gloria Kurnik


// Camera : Canon 7d, Canon 5d Mark II
// Lenses : Canon 24mm 1.4, Canon 50 1.8
// Editing/Grading : Premiere Pro
// Music : Karma Groove from


For postcards and posters, check out the project on behance.


Tags: , , , ,


There are no comments yet.