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So far, the Winter Play Fest disappoints the audience

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karwat-(1)

The ongoing 23 days long, Winter Play Festival organized by the Gaiety Dramatic Society at the Historic Gaiety Theater, the Mall, Shimla, began with the hope of seeing some if not great but still good performances by the all art lovers but the festival kick stared on a very bad note.

From November 14 to 24, plays “Phir yaad aaye papa” by Natyanukriti Theatre Group ; “Rana Zhina” by Active Monal Thratre Kullu ; “Karwat” by Yuva Mandal Bhalavag; “Manto Katghare me” by the Platform Theatre Group Shimla; “The Typist” by Natyakaar Theatre Group Shimla; “Rangnath Ke waapsi” and “Bakri” by Anukriti Rangmandal Kanpur; “Batwaare ke aag” and “Chandan Van Ka Bagh” by Vinod Rastogi Samriti Sansthaan, Allahabad; “Vanka” by Muskaan Theatre Group, Shimla and “Billiya Batiyate hai” by Ab Theatre Group have been staged.

Phir yaad turned out to be too disappointing as inspite of having a sober theme play failed to connect to audience as one of the spectators said, “I slept in the play as the beginning was too boring father kept repeating the same thing which I felt monotonous other than that there was so much fumbling by the actor playing son that I failed to connect.”

On other hand we saw Rana Zhina was based on historic incident that took place in 15 Century in Kullu showcasing the doom of sensible king by the hand of Muchiyani due to ego. While commenting on play, Shweta Sood one of the spectators said, “There were so many scenes in this play so many times there was black out on stage. I personally feel that director could have thought some other way for executing this legendary story without breaking the continuity.”

Karwat based on Manto’s story showcased the hypocrisy and the double standard that exists in the society through incident between a noble man and a prostitute. However the play had too much experiment done with the light.

“Manto Katghare me”, dealt with three different well known controversial stories of Manto; that is Kali Salwaar, Bu and Thanda Gosht; for which he had been under court trial. All the stories showed various ways shades of physical relations.

While commenting on this play Monika Verma, a tourist said, “The theme of play was a delicate one and I personally felt that the aesthetic veil required to project it was missing as it became bit uncomfortable watching it in a public place. Protagonist in Bu has stiff body language. Manto was too weak and spot light was somewhere else while he vomited out his crammed dialogues in dark and at many places without voice modulation.”

Typist came as a bit relief as while commenting, Neha Sharma, one of the spectators said, “It came as a breath of fresh air. However I personally didn’t like the uproar of laughter when Paul calls his wife bitch though situation seemed comic but undertone laid a note showing that even females do not have any self respect for themselves that they enjoy such abusive language used for other female.”

Rangnath being a long play (2 hours) failed to bag massive audience as Gaurav Kumar, one of spectators said, “It was confusing in village there showed court trial instead of panchyat. Other than that the back stage moments were distracting as the posters on back cloth were moving a lot. The lawyer was too weak in his performance.”

Bakri showcased the story of 3 crooks fooling the poor villagers gave the messages that one person can bring a revolution if he makes up his mind but the biggest flaw of the play was that goat was shown alive so make it more realistic bleating sound could have been added in background to give it a more realistic approach.

“Batwaare” was a complete package as falling in genre of Natunki it was something very different from what was being staged in festival before. While commenting on the play, Sanjay Sood, local theater artist said, “They are the masters as it is said for any performance 3 elements are must song, music and acting; and they had it all.”

As per expectation even the other play “Chandan” though in different genre did not disappoint the audiences at all as it again proved to be a delightful experience. The makeup and the body language of the actor playing the lion were extraordinary.

“Vanka”, based on Anthon Chekhov story was staged showcasing the universal plight of orphans by being mistreated by the society back then though was a great effort as the actors belonged to college rather than professional but however “I was not able to figure out the end it was all abrupt and I fail to understand what the old man signified as though Vanka was sleeping at back and it was a dream sequel; which I learned later. There could have been some use to light to make it more clear”, said Ashok Kumar, a regular spectator.

Today “Billiya” was a treat to watch as there was uproar of laughter and for the first time applause by audience was heard in the middle of the performance. Again at certain places light did miss its timing by millisecond but considering the performance staged so far it was some few good ones. Considering the stage properties the amma chulla was the eye catcher.

In almost all the plays there was so much experimenting with lights that instead of enhancing the performances they left majority of action on stage in very dim light causing bit discomfort among the spectators. Other than that the backstage moments is couple of plays were again something that gave a bad taste.

A review by Ritanjali Hastir, Freelance Journalist, Shimla

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Art & Culture

Shimla’s emerging filmmaker grabs 3 more awards for short-film “Papa”

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Papa Short Film by Siddharth wins awards

Shimla: Shimla-based emerging short-film maker Sidharth Chauhan (27) has grabbed more awards for his work “Papa.”  His short-film Papa has received three awards at the Vintage International Film Festival, 2018.

As per the results announced on March 20, 2018, the movie won Sidharth the best short-film award in the National category. The film also won the best director award for Siddhartha and best cinematography award for Yashwant Kumar Sharma.

The film is written, produced, and directed by Sidharath.

Papa is the same film that was first screened at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival in Kerala in 2016 where it claimed its first award (best film).

Later, Papa made its first international premiere at the London Indian Film Festival in 2017 where the short film won the Satyajit Ray award. 

It was a mature storytelling which balanced a realistic sense of frustration and claustrophobia, with a finely nuanced thread of subtle and deadpan humour,

said the jury.

The film is a story of a paralyzed mother, Sushma and her young son, Rajiv, who are living a tough life post an accident, which left their lives scarred forever.

You can read more about the film, its crew, location etc. in one of our previous posts.

Other than Papa, Sidharth’s short-film Pashi has also fetched appreciation and awards for Sidharth.

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Himachal’s traditional ‘Mandi Shivratri’ fair begins today

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Mandi shivratri 2018 pictures

Mandi: The traditional Shivratri Mela of Mandi district, which is a week-long international fair, began today as the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jai Ram Thakur, formally announced the opening at the historical Paddal ground at Mandi. 

This year’s celebrations are special for the people of Mandi as it is the native place of the Chief Minister. Also, Bhartiya Janata Party has captured all 10 seats in the district including the support of the one independent candidate.  

I am happy to see all nine MLAs including an Independent who have gathered here for celebrating the festival with traditional fervour,

he said.

Earlier, after paying obeisance at the famous Madho Rai temple, the Chief Minister participated in the traditional ‘Jaleb’ (Shobha Yatra) of Shivratri fair, which began from DC office to end at the Paddal ground.

Mandi shivratri 2018

Local deities along with the Chief deity Madho Rai led the procession.

The locals draped in their colourful attire thronged the procession carrying along the palanquins of the local deities and marched towards the Paddal Mela ground. A little less than two hundred Devtas participated in the ‘Jaleb’, the traditional Shobha Yatra, from almost all corners of the district.

The life of the people of the state revolves around the local Gods and Goddesses, and the local deities are an inseparable part of the people. The Shivratri festival gives a glimpse of ‘Dev and Manav Milan’ (the meeting of humans with deities), he said.

The Chief Minister announced a hike of 20 percent in ‘nazarana’ of the local deities, 20 percent hike in ration quota, and two times increase in honorarium of ‘Bajantris’ – the musicians who accompany the deities.

As compared to Rs. 3,64,000 in 2017, with two times rise in honorarium of Bajantris, the expenditure the expenditure will be Rs. 7,31,000  in 2018.   

The Chief Minister has assured that the government will register the left-out deities in a phase-wise manner.

 ‘Sarv Devta Committee’ will formulate the guidelines, examine each case, will pass a resolution in the house unanimously, and the committee will forward the case to the district administration for necessary action. 

 The Chief Minister also released a souvenir of the festival on the occasion. 

He said the government would soon come up with parking places to decongest traffic.  

The Chief Minister said Mandi will be connected with air services under UDAN scheme, (a regional connectivity scheme of Government of India). A helipad will be constructed in Mandi, he said. 

The state government will take up the issue with the Union government along with the demand for direct flights from Chandigarh to Kullu, Kangra, Shimla and for tribal areas,  the Chief Minister assured. 

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Pahari short-film Pashi wins best Cinematography award at Marietta Film Festival in Georgia

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Siddharth Chauhan’s Himachali short-film Pashi has won the best Cinematography award at Marietta International Film Festival in Georgia,  Europe in the short-film category.

Earlier, Pashi had also made it to an Oscar qualifying ‘Rhode Island International Film Festival’held in USA in August 2017. It was the first international premiere for the film. Like Rhode Island, at Marietta too, Pashi was the only entry from India, said Sidharth.

Siddharth was the Director of photography while Yashwant Kumar Sharma was his cameraman.

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The film is inspired from Siddharth’s childhood memories in his village Dhanoti, Rohru of Shimla district and produced under the Secret Corridor Picture.

In the regional Pahari spoken in Rohru, Pashi means a trap – an ancient concept used by villagers & children for hunting birds and animals.

pashi film shooting locationThe film was primarily shot in Sunta Lodge, a beautiful wooden mansion of village Khalwan. Some of the parts were also filmed in Village Dhanoti neat Tikker (Rohru).

Pashi will be showcased at Shanghai International Film Festival in Shanghai on the September 17. On February 2, 2018, the film will be showcased at the World Music and Independent Film Festival in Washington where it already has five nominations – Best Director, Best Screenplay Writer, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor.

Siddharth has emerged as a talented filmmaker from the Hill state where the film industry is still in infancy. Luckily, the parents of Siddharth, Mr. Balwan Singh Chauhan and Mrs. Bimla Chauhan offered a thorough support to him in his endevour.

Lead actors of the film include Chetan Kanwar, a Class XII student at the Chapslee School, Shimla, John Negi, a model/actor from Rampur, Kamayani Bisht, an English Professor at the Government College Theog, Savitri Devi Sunta, the oldest family member of the Sunta family in Khawalan.

Supporting case includes Dewansh Kanwar (Chapslee School), Aditi Sunta ( Rohru), and Dev Ranta (Rohru).

Other crew members are as followed.

  • Assistant Directors: Mridul Surbhi, Shefali Chauhan & Ankit Rathore
  • Music: Prabir Sekhri from Canada
  • Sound: Tanmaya Das from Mumbai
  • Visual Effects: Himanshu Hirwani from Pune
  • Story/Direction: Siddharth Chauhan from Shimla
  • Associate Producers: Swati Chauhan & Ankit Rathore (from Delhi)

 

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