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This remote Himachal village is hosting a week-long unique festival of art



ShopArt ArtShop 3

KANGRA- A remote village of Himachal Pradesh, Gunehar, located in Bir, Kangra Valley is hosting ShopArt ArtShop (SA AS) – a unique conceptual arts project that brings out emerging artists, alongside established artists, to this remote village for a month-long project ending in a week-long festival of arts, culture, exhibitions, movies, fashion shows and drama.

Artist Ketna Patel

The fun part is that these acknowledged contemporary artists spend 30 days living among the rural people and, meanwhile, transform the entire village into a large canvas where these artists undertake various art projects depending on their respective fields. It could include anything from graffiti art, short films, cultural or local food exhibit to movie show. The entire village becomes a complex during the last week where each artist has his month long work of art on display. The villagers have taken to fondly calling SA AS 2 their own ‘mela’.


The village had hosted the event for first time in 2013 which had brought together 13 contemporary artists for the month-long arts event to Gunehar, creating quite a ‘buzz’ among art insiders.

ShopArt ArtShop

This year also witnessed  internationally renowned artists like Ketna Patel, Puneet Kaushik and Vibha Galhotra among others. Now, all the village along with villagers is gearing up for week long festival from June 7 -14.

Gunehar Village Kangra

ShopArt ArtShop is first to present art beyond the confines of the contemporary city-based art scene. It offers an opportunity for artists to come together in a fully-funded month-long residency organised by the 4tables project, where they are free to experiment in the unique environment of the village, explore new methods, and for emerging artists to receive the support and mentoring of seasoned practitioners.

These artists do not operate in isolation from the village and the villagers, but rather are encouraged to engage with ‘hosts’ as much as possible. New bonds and relationships are formed across many divides, giving everyone who touches the project and is touched by it new thoughts and emotions about art and about the village as a venue for it. The resulting art works reflect the ability of artists to transcend boundaries between rural-urban, traditional-modern, national-global.


For this year’s edition, among others,SA AS 2 is features, internationally renown artists Ketna Patel, Puneet Kaushik and Vibha Galhotra! and Puneet Kaushik as co-organisers, alongside Frank Schlichtmann, the initiator of the event. All have worked tirelessly to bring the latest edition to fruition.

Artist Vibha Galhotra

A group of other excellent artists such as Mudita Bhandari, KM Lo, Gargi Chandola, Sheena Deviah, Amrit Vatsa and others compliment the great cast of artists with their contemporary disciplines and concepts.
ketna patel

SA AS 2 also features an innovative and interactive netart platform -Virtual Village, which can be visited virtually via official website of ShoP Art Shop

The project is now well underway and ready for the festival  starting from 7-14 June, and is inviting artists and villagers to visit and witnessed amazing combination of rural socio-economic setup and various works of arts.

himachal vilage fest

ketna patel

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Art & Culture

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



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



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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Art & Culture

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



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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