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150 years of Shimla – former Summer Capital or 200th year of inception?

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SHIMAL: Recently people of city got an opportunity to experience the magic of famous theater artists in the form of 6 days long theater fest organized by the department of language art and culture.

It is a strange irony of state that the person in whose glory Department of Language Art and Culture has organized a national level theater festival, his own real brother and sisters received a foster child treatment by the authorities and there presence in the hall was not even once acknowledged who came to be the part of the festival with sense of belonging.

Vimal, sister of glorified man informed, “No personal or special invitations were provided to us for this event. We got passes just like ordinary person. We all were overwhelmed with joy after reading in papers that such grand scale theater festival is being held in the memory of our brother but unfortunately inspite of being fully aware about our presence in the town itself not even a courtesy invitation was extended by the organizers.”

His son was formally invited but there too only one seat that was kept for him but seems like they failed to realize that he would have had company and arrangement was missing. In Shimla currently Manohar Singh 2 real sisters – Vimal and Meena; and one brother- Kamalnain are residing.

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Though during the later shows seats were reserved for the family but the initially shabby treatment disappointed his family members. Authorities kept pampering their chief guests and failed to even acknowledge the presence of his real sisters present during the show.

It is even more ironic that the portrait or any single photograph of Manohar in whose name they were basking in the glory, had not been placed either on invitations or flex or even in auditorium where function was being held.

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The VVIPs were conspicuous presence in the historic Gaiety Theatre; especially during second day, on which Naseerudin Shah performance was scheduled; but the local talent which is eyeing the event with expectations and with sense of belonging are being ignored. They had no place to sit inside with the crowding of aristocrats and various departmental people who hardly show any interest in plays staged throughout the year by local talent.

The department claims to have spent handsome amount on the sound and light system but sound goof- up during the second show was something totally unacceptable. The rumors say that Amal Allana a well know Indian theatre director and head of NSD for all most a decade, also left the festival in the middle after having the bitter experiencing. She was staying at her own residence in Shimla.

While reflecting back on lack of sensitivity Vivek Mohan, a National Award winner, while sharing his personal experience says, “In 2012 when “Usne Kha Tha” the film based on the same title by world renowned author, C.S. Guleri on whose name State literary awards are given summon from the department introduced the film maker Vivek Mohan, who was presenting the film; as Bimal Roy! Such is the insensitive state of the affairs in the department and to think the person was after the director for departmental promotion.”

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It seems like the multipurpose hall lack the very purpose; considering the diversified events it hold that is right from dance shows to rock concerts; from college association functions to condolence ceremony of Anupam Khair’s father; and resultantly they are master of none. People are already murmuring why the celebrate 150 years of colonial rule when simultaneously the nation is also conducting elections in free democratic India and Shimla is standing at the threshold of Celebrating 200 Years of Recognized Existence as a settlement in 1815. Now this city is going to enter its 200th year of inception on May 15, 2014.

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It seems like that the senior authorities have the vision but lack the supporting staff that can actually execute the vision at grass roots level.

Coming to plays no doubt the variety offered by the department was worth an appreciation and all want to see many more productions in the coming years.

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.

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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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