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Meet Sanjay, Shimla-based chef who represented India at prestigious Bocuse d’Or, Singapore

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Himachali Talent

SHIMLA- Our hearts leap with joy every time we see an Indian making the nation’s presence felt globally. This time it’s Sanjay Thakur from Kufri, Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, who has done the state proud by representing India as a participant at Bocuse D’Or contest – also known as the Olympics of the culinary world. It was the first-ever edition of the Asia-Pacific selections for Bocuse d’Or that was held from 14th to 15th April 2016 at the Singapore Expo.

Sanjay Thakur

Sponsored by S.Pellegrino, the aim of the event is to bring together some of the best chefs from across Asia and the Pacific region for a live cooking competition. The winners of this particular competition will further take part in the final Bocuse D’Or World Cooking contest that will take place in January 2017 in France.

Famous Himachal People

Total nine chefs from across the region were selected to represent nine different countries including Australia, China, India, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Singapore and New Zealand. Representing India, Sanjay Thakur was one of the contestants in this prestigious culinary competition.

Bocuse d’Or

Sanjay works for Etihad Airlines, U.A.E. and was selected for the competition through the same platform. With a deep passion for food in his heart, Sanjay is working as professional chef for many years. His sheer hard work and passion finally fetch him a chance to represent India, thus, make Himachal proud at international competition.

Kufri

For the contest, Sanjay had presented a very special beef dish with various taste-enhancing ingredients including fiddlehead ferns infused in oil, as well as Himalayan pink salt from northern India. Asia-Pacific jury appreciated Sanjay’s cooking and the way he made use of all the ingredients in his recipe. The jury members even referred him as ‘Indian Gun,’ and would like to see him again in next contest as well.

Talent

Speaking about his amazing experience at Bocuse D’Or, Sanjay Thakur told Himachal Watcher,

I felt great to be the part of Bocuse D’Or, which is considered as prestigious as Oscars or Olympics in the culinary world. I competed against high-end chefs, most of them coming from a Michelin background. I am glad that my performance was appreciated by the Michelin jury members. The jury even referred me as ‘Indian Gun’.

Sanjay has well represented his nation, as well as modern Indian cuisine at the international culinary event. Such Indian-origin chefs are proudly introducing the nuances of India’s food into international market. Although Japan, Singapore and Australia were announced as the gold, silver and bronze award winners respectively, but Sanjay has undoubtedly won the jury’s hearts and made Himachal proud.

S.Pellegrino, for Etihad Airlines

City Lifestyle

Self-taught local artist to exhibit ’17 Paintings’ oil painting works at Gaiety, Shimla

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Shimla: For the art lovers and critics in Himachal Pradesh, a self-taught local artist will showcase his collection of oil paintings titled “17 Paintings” on a two-days exhibition at the historic Gaiety Theater, Shimla on December 9 and 10 from 11.00 AM to 6.00 PM.

Surya Ranjan Shandil (31), who hails from Solan district, works in Bengaluru as a computer programmer in the field of education technology. After his schooling from Shimla, he obtained a B.Tech Degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.

Himachal's cutlural paintings

Courtesy: Surya Ranjan Shandil

However, he did not ignore his love for the painting and continued it at evenings after college, work, on weekends, and Sundays.

Later, Ranjan realized he has a collection of his own. His first solo exhibition was held in November 2016 at the Gaiety Theater.

The appreciation he received at the first exhibition encouraged him to present his second collection of oil paintings that he painted during 2017.

He received his education upto Class 12 from Shimla’s St. Edwards and Dayanand Public School.

He is best known for his captivating genre paintings.

I started drawing at the age of 3-4 years. At that time, I used to sign the drawings with incorrect spellings of my name,

Ranjan told Himachal Watcher

His father, Dr R G Shandil, who is now retired, was a professor of mathematics at the H.P. University, Shimla. His mother Dr. Sandhya Shandil was a teacher at the St. Edward’s School, Shimla.

After graduating in 2010, I started with oil painting during the evenings and weekends. Gradually I built up a collection and in November 2016, I held my first solo exhibition of 29 oil paintings at gaiety,

he said.

local himachali painting artist

Ranjan’s paintings reflect people. The upcoming exhibition opens with simple themes like the joy of shopping, local festivities, celebration, dance and music. Most works painted on these themes are in the context of Himachal.

Surya Ranjan Shandil

Following these are mellow paintings ‘Seaside Nap’ and ‘Personal Sunrise’ – more subtle takes on human thought. The artist also takes a step towards satire in comically interesting works ‘Monkeys’ and ‘Chimpanzees’.

Slowly moving towards expressionism ‘Kayal’ takes the viewer to the realm of subjectless painting while in ‘Frenzy’ the artist dispenses with form.

Ending on a light hearted note, the paintings ‘Bonfire’ and ‘A Silent Conversation’ recreate the magic of Gabbar Singh and Rajesh Khanna on canvas.

About his love for painting, he said,

I believe art is a journey of constant improvisation.  

It would be his second solo exhibition. Earlier, he has participated and won prizes in several painting competitions throughout his schooling and B.Tech.

 

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Pahari short film ‘Pashi’ selected for Oscar qualifying ‘Rhode Island International Film Festival 2017’

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Pahari short film pashi by sidharth chauhan

Shimla – A short-film Pashi, from the budding short-film maker from Shimla, Sidharth Chauhan, has made into the prestigious Rhode Island International Film Festival to be held in the United States in August 2017. The festival is held every year since 1997.

The film is produced under the Secret Corridor Picture and it will be film’s first international premiere.

RIIFF is an official Oscar qualifying event. This year, PASHI is the only film selected from India. If Pashi manages to grab an award here, it will be directly nominated for the prestigious Academy Awards or the Oscars Awards.

Sidharth has been in news since 2014 and some of his other short-films like “PAPA” and “Boys Don’t Wear Nail Polish” have gathered awards and appreciation on the national and international level.

PASHI means a trap in the regional Pahari dialect of Rohru (Nawar valley), especially around the villages like Tikkar, Pujarli, Dhanoti, and Khalawan. It is a very old traditional concept used by villagers and children to hunt birds and animals.

The film is inspired from Siddharth’s childhood memories in his native village Dhanoti (in Rohru).

Pashi, written, directed and produced by Siddharth, is a story of a young boy (Chetan), who learns about this technique of trapping birds from his old grandmother (Savitri Ji). He begins to practice it. His friend John encourages him to go for it while his mother is worried about his future.

The 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.

The production team is excited on receiving the news. “As an independent film production house based in Shimla, this is a dream come true and an unparalleled honor for all of us,” said the team.

Lead actors 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
  • Camera: Yashwant Kumar Sharma from Shimla
  • 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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Shimla-based travel writer releases his new book “Tea Shop at Narkanda”

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SHIMLA- Recently, Shimla-based travel writter, Sumit Raj Vashisht released his new book “Tea Shop at Narkanda”.

The book is a story from the hills. Through the life of Birju, the protagonist, the book talks about the victims of the natural calamities such as flash floods and cloud bursts. The over construction, the thinning of forests and increasing number of traffic in the hills are causing various destruction. The so called development is bringing unfortunate desolation. How miserable the life becomes due to the natural calamities in the hills is the flavour of the story. The traditions of the life in the hills, around which the life revolves are fading away, are also talked about in the book.The book is now available on Amazon.

Sumit was born at Shimla in 1967. His father, a railway engineer by profession also a well known Urdu poet under the pen name of Talat Irfani, was never interested in leaving Shimla. But because of his official transfers he had to move first to Rohtak and then to Delhi. Sumit’s phase of academic education was spread over these three towns because of which despite being a nature lover and a writer on nature based themes could not acquire the culture of big towns.

teashop at narkanda

Hills, his first love, where he hails from, here he tells stories, conducts educational camps for school children, writes books on his travels, works as a Heritage Guide and a Tour Companion on Himalayan Valleys outings and helps those British who return to India looking for their family history. His innovative ideas of providing experiences to his traveler clients have made Shimla Walks, his company famous.

In his words,

it is impossible for me to live away from the mountains. Mountains travel like blood in my veins and when I inhale; they enter my mind and body.

Sumit has authored five books already but Tea Shop at Narkanda is his first novella.

 

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