Mata Amritanandamayi Devi , also known by her followers as 'Amma', 'Ammachi' or 'Mother' (September 27, 1953 - ), is an Indian spiritual leader revered by her followers as a saint. She is a widely respected humanitarian and called by some 'the hugging saint'
Amritanandamayi is known to the world media as 'the hugging saint'. She offers warm hugs to everyone who approaches her and in India she has been known to individually hug over 50,000 people in a day, sitting sometimes for over 20 hours. Worldwide, Amritanandamayi is said to have hugged at least 30 million people in the past 30 years.
"Darshan - The Embrace", a film on the life of Amritanandamayi was officially selected for showcasing at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. Jan Kounen, an award winning filmmaker who was born in Netherlands and is based in France, directed the film. Manuel De La Roche of France, is the producer. Jan Kounen and his crew began shooting the footage for the film in 2003 during Amritavarsham50, Amritanandamayi's 50th birthday celebrations in Kochi. The team also traveled with Amritanandamayi on her Indian and International tours in order to complete the movie. About the film, Kounen says, "when I first took up the project and started filming, I thought, 'Amma is a good person, doing good things, in turn I can do something good for her'. But as it went on, I realized, no, I am the one who is receiving the gift".