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Winter fest showed some hope in week goneby

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Chanku

Majority of the plays failed to appeal to the spectators for one reason or another

Shimla -In the yet another week of the ongoing 23 days long, Winter Play Festival organized by the Gaiety Dramatic Society at the Historic Gaiety Theater, the Mall, Shimla, majority of productions failed to appeal the spectators for some reason or the other though after staging of “Billiya” on November 24 filled people with some hope but except for productions – “Gao ka Lambardaar”; “The Swan Song” and “God sees the Truth but waits” rest all again ended on a disappointing note.

From November 25 to December 1, plays – “Ek Tha Gadha urf Allahdad” by Smanvaya Theatre Group Shimla; “Chanku Ram” by Amar Joyati Group Pahal Shimla; “Khudkushi” by Sufi Theatre Group Shimla; “Gao ka Lambardaar” by Brijeshwar Kala Manch Shimla; “Coffee House me intzaar” by Abhilasha Theatre Group Shimla; “The Swan Song” by Abhiney Darpan Theatre Group Shimla and “God sees the Truth but waits” by The Beginner Theatre Group Shimla; have been staged.

Ek tha turned out to be yet another disappointing production one of the spectators said, “We people enjoyed the comedy beyond the script. The Nwaab Saheib was too pathetic I really feel sorry for the poor actors as most of them belonged to places where they couldn’t get much exposure.”

On other hand we saw Chanku based on famous Kreyala – folk theater form, which very well known and respected in Himachal, filled people with disgust considering the height of toilet humour used on stage. While commenting on the play one of the spectators said, “There is a proper costumes and other technical things that are must for any performing this art form but here nothing was considered. We don’t find characters dressed as hip hoppers like in this play. It was a total waste of time.” Considering the stiff body language of the actor playing female character made his look like the third gender.

Other than that in Chanku’s set calendar of 2011 was used as stage property how much would have a current years calendar coasted for participating in Winter Play Festival 2012 is something worth a thought. For both the above stated plays, we can say it’s good to have team members as your spectators to give audience queue as per when to applaud or laugh. Khudkushi depicting story of a lover trying to commit suicide for not being allowed to marry his beloved, due to its pathetic performance by the main actor instilled the idea of Khudkushi among the audience. As handful of spectators were out of words to express this shocking experience. Stage was left vacant for a litter long duration for changing set leaving audience staring at the dark stage that could have been avoided smartly.

Finally, to save all from the torture came “Gau ka”, another Kreyala; but in a complete contrast to what all witnessed in Chanku; with the real values attached to it. The play lasted for 2 hours and it kept all its spectators glued to their seats. It had traditional live musical instruments being played and costumes worn by the actors. While commenting on it one of the spectators said, “It was a true entertaining experience and I wish it could have continued a bit longer.” One can say that this was the best production that really valued for money that the department is paying, so far considering the crowd in hall and their uproar in the hall.

Coffee house again turned out to be bit disappointing as expectations were high seeing the catchy name and the banner. Coffee House me intraaz turned out to be Intrzaar even on the part of spectators as without any clear message the play ended in just 35 minutes. Considering the set, ambience was created of local Coffee House but in the backdrop music only mummers were used ignoring the fact clang sound is too prominent in the original place which they tried to show. Other than other hand waiter costume was done with lot of care as it was identical to the original place and could have been mistaken to be an employee, but unfortunately shoes were not given attention as he wore brown instead of black shoes which is part of the uniform.

“Meaning was not so clear I feel they could have taken bit more time and allowed the theme and message to manifest clearly, I think for the spectators”, expressed Parveen Chandla a senior local theatre artist.

The Swan based on Anton Chekhov being a hardly 45 minutes play proved to be a real treat for the audience. Directed by Diven Joshi there was hardly any flaw in the play. The main actor Pritam Sharma portrayed an aging actor’s reminisces about his life and the parts he’s played his character, remarkably well. While commenting on the play, Mohit,

A Review: Ritanjali Hastir, Freelance Journalist, Shimla

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.

Watch Trailer

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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