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“Him Rang Mahotsav” – A Damp Squib

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“Mecca of theater” cries seeing the low standers of productions being staged especially in context to celebration “150 years of Summer Capital”.

The much awaited State level theater festival that was announced by the department of Language, Art and Culture; to mark the celebration of “150 years of Summer Capital”; proved to be a damp squib.

SHIMLA: “Him Rang Mahotsav” was organized at the historic Gaiety Theatre from March 21 to 27; during which During the festival seven plays that is – “Phir Yaad aaye Papa”- by Natya Kriti Shimla; “Subhdra” by Pranav Theater, beyond Theater Solan; “Aah mai waah mai” by Ab Theater Group, Shimla; Loknatya – Kareyala by Chudeshvar Lok Natya Sanskritik Mandal, Sirmaur; “Bhagat” by Changar Sanskritik Kala Manch, Kangra; “Banthna” by Mandavy Kala Manch, Mandi; “The Typist” by Sankalp, Shimla; “Chiriya ke Bhaane”; and “Jungletantar” by Himachal Sanskritik Shoodh sansthaan rangmandal, Mandi were staged.

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Phir was a repeat show and as compared to the last time there was hardly in improvement in the play. First half of the play was again a drag and it was only the middle that connected the audiences to the play. Inspite of serious theme of the play it failed to woe the audience due to lack of rehearsal that was quiet evident.

Subhdra was based on the life of Kumari Chauhan can be called a good attempt only considering that performers came from place where theater is getting extinct. Play was too lengthy and majority of audiences failed to stay glued to their seats for the climax. With little diction issues here and there it was an average production.

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Aah and Typist both productions proved the hindi idom Naam bare aur Drashan chote true. Coming from both directors whose previous productions have delighted the audiences proved to be an utter disappointment.

In order to increase the length of play Aah director added a complete three minutes song plus a dance sequence here and there which left a bad taste. Instead of play the experiment made it look more like a low budget film with dancers shaking their pompoms. While depicting hospital, doctor is standing bare feet. Placing of table and chair wouldn’t have demanded much efforts if the director wanted. Florist presence was well received by spectators making them giggle.

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Whereas, Typist was again a dull production that failed to do justice to the script it was difficult to swallow that it came from another reputed director of the city. Lack of rehearsal was again seen in the show.

Coming to folk theater, lord krishan is sitting on plastic chair if we are talking folk then these little details should have been considered by the director. However considering the local flavor it managed to bag audiences.
Chriya can be called a good production as the beginning was not so interesting but eventfully it picked up the tempo and captivated the audience. It was symbolic of corruption and miss use of power in our country. Even it was not a flawless performance as the constable comes shouting and jogging left right left but in name of left his right leg is up. Ignoring little flaws it can be called an entertaining show.

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Finally in end Jungle came as a rescue and honored the World Theater Day. After one another bad productions this play based on Shravanh Kumar’s novel forced spectators to stay glued to their seats. It was a satire on the political governance of our country. With hardly any stage properties actors depicted jungle, TV, different houses of character and Kailash Parvat.

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It seemed like in name of theater festival a prank was played. Department granted 50, 000 for each production but the results failed to do justice to the grant. As per the director LAC Arun Sharma, a committee was formed that selected the plays that have been staged during the festival. All these productions are further reviewed by selected committee members for national level theater festival to be held in April.

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The interrogating question is on what basis were the productions selected. As they say people who do not know/ remember their history are bound to repeat it and same was applicable in context of this festival. Just like 21 days long play festival organized previously; (during director LAC Rakesh Kanwar time); same low standards were observed as this time. That time too department gave a handsome amount for production but screening was not done.
Being a state level competition it was just to give all districts group equal opportunity but had all of them been asked to bring more productions; which they could have enacted in front of committee before; out of which the selected committee could have selected for this festival too in best interest of all.

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After seeing the entire festival it won’t be wrong to say that it would have been better that committee screen all staged productions so that it was able to live up to the standard of the occasion, for which it was planned rather than happy go lucky attitude.

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The positive point of this festival is the post discussion of plays where each play was scrutinized and people got an opportunity to share their views in front of the reviewing committee of the festival. It is a welcoming change and can help in improving of the theater standards in the city.
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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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Art & Culture

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.

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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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