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Shimla-based band’s upcoming music video trailer shows marvelous glimpses of Chanshal Pass and Dodra-Kwar

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With its full Orchestra, the band climbed to the top of the highest peak in the Shimla district – Chansal Pass at 4,520 metres (14,830 ft) and descended to reach the other side Dodra and Kwar

SHIMLA- Recently, a Shimla-based music band ‘Ispat’ released the trailer of its upcoming video song “Bulbule”. Himachal Watcher received an opportunity to watch the complete music video prior to its release. The music and lyrics are delightful and romantic and the landscapes are stunningly beautiful. The video has bird-view drone shots of some beautiful locations in Shimla district. Considering that the video is mostly self-funded by the band members and is recorded in home-studio, it deserves a mention.

shooting-in-chansal-pass

The band took only five days to complete the shooting of this music video despite traveling to one of the most remote and isolated region of Himachal Pradesh as well as of India – Dodra-Kwar, locked away between the steep-high Himalayan mountains. Dodra -Kwar didn’t have a motorable road until 2009 when first HRTC bus service was introduced by the govt. The  region is about 200 km from capital city Shimla. The Chanshal ski slopes are considered the longest in South Asia by experts. 
chanshal-pass-photograph

With its full Orchestra, the band climbed to the top of the highest peak in the Shimla district – Chansal Pass at 4,520 metres (14,830 ft) and descended to reach the other side Dodra and Kwar, two regions consisting of villages separated by gushing waters of river Rupin.

Trailer of ISPAT’s ‘BulBule’

Both Dodra and Kwar have their own rich socio-cultural history with marvelous works of architecture including temples.

Photo: K Kasturi

Photo: K Kasturi

So far, this part of Himachal, which has mostly remained unexplored due to tough geographical and climatic conditions, was hardly explored as location for shooting. The region is approachable only through Chansal Pass that remains closed during winters due to heavy snowfall. Until 2009, before the region was connected with the nearest Rohru town via a motorable road, people used to trek for 2-3 days to reach the other side. But even this road isn’t less than an adventure and it can scare hell out of even skilled riders.

dodra-village-drone-image

ISPAT has shown the region in a refreshing perspective with some wonderful scenes set in a hamlet of traditionally built, slate-roof houses. You also get short, but clear glimpses of the village and villagers in their traditional dresses.

hassan-valley-drone-images

Photo Copyright: ISPAT/Himachal Watcher

Some scenes of the video are shot in Hassan Valley in Shimla. It’s a ‘Water Catchment Sanctuary’ with very dense deodar forest cover. Drone footage in the video will give you better idea.

Though, it’s was dangerous, the band took its chances and even filmed a swimming scene in Pabbar River. Then, there are some scenes set in Mashobra.

dodra-village_2

But the scenes of Chansal Pass and Dodra are most charming. Apparently, this part of the world is not meant for tourists. It’s for loners and travelers. There isn’t any hotel or inn here except a PWD guesthouse, which is not a privileged place to stay. At best, you can get home-stays.

That was about the location of the shooting. Himachal Watcher also got a chance to interact with the members of the band. All the actors and artists belongs to Himachal.

About the Band and Actors

Artist Name Place
Singer Varun Kainthla (22) Shimla (Narkanda)
Lead Guitarist Sunny (30) Una
Bass Guitar Sahitya Chauhan(28) Shimla (Chopal)
Rhythm Guitar Ravi Chauhan (29) Shimla (Chopal)
Drummer Manish Verma(29) Shimla (Kumarsen)
Lead Actor Sahitya Chauhan (28) Shimla (Chopal)
Lead Actress Pooja Chauhan (23) Shimla (Rohru)
  Anu Thakur (27) Kullu (Banjar)
Lyrics Ravi Chauhan Shimla

As per the band, the song is actually a dedication to someone and the lyrics were written a couple of years back. Finally, the band is ready to release the music video ‘Bulbule’ on January 1, 2017.

ispat-music-band

The band also shared some of their memories they had captured during their shoot in their mobile phone.
himachal-based-music-band

Gallery:

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Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 7 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture world around him in his DSLR lens.

Art & Culture

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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Art & Culture

Artists in Himachal allege serious irregularities in distribution of top Academy awards

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HP Academy of Language, Art and Culture Awards 2017

How the Academy can distribute prizes four months prior to completion of the year. Moreover, without procuring the copy of published works, how would it assess the artists?

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Academy of Language, Art, and Culture was alleged of irregularities in the distribution of the annual top three awards to best artists in various fields.

The Academy is preparing to distribute the top Academy awards for the year 2017 in advance without following proper procedures and even rules of the Academy.

The awards for the year 2016 were presented in March 2017. Just five months after it, now, the Academy is preparing to distribute prizes in haste before the end of the year. Artists cite the upcoming Assembly Election as the main reason behind this unjustified act.

For the 2017 awards, the Academy has invited artists to submit their entries with details by August 26, 2017. Surprisingly, the Academy has not asked the candidates to submit any books or other published works for the assessment.

The artists and social organizations are questioning how the Academy can distribute prizes four months prior to completion of the year. Moreover, without procuring the copy of published works, how would it assess the artists?

Several artists would publish or reveal their works of art during the next four months. But if the prizes for the year were already distributed before completion of the year, these artists will face injustice. All artists deserve equal opportunity to represent their works.

The 2016 awards were distributed without actually assessing the art works or the artists, said the allegations. A few members of the Academy distributed the prizes to some pre-selected candidates without properly inviting other artists to submit entries. There was no in-depth assessment of works of art and literature before giving away prizes worth lakhs of rupees.

These allegations were labeled by Guru Dutt Sharma, an artist and the President of the “HP Sarvahitkari Sangh”. He said the Academy distributed the last year’s awards just five months ago, and now, the Academy is trying to distribute top three awards for the year 2017 in advance.

Sharma also alleged that every such institute or organization is bound to properly advertise the invitation for entries along with details regarding the eligibility criteria, rules, and norms. However, the Academy issued only a press note that did not contain any of the aforesaid details, he alleged.

He further alleged that the constitution of the Academy was hijacked by a few members. These members were taking undue advantage of their positions and working arbitrarily.

As per the Academy rules, the position of the President in the Academy always belongs to the Secretary of the HP Department of Language and Culture. However, the Academy has defied this rule and even the post of the Secretary was not filled as per rules.

Guru Dutt Sharma has also written to the President of the Academy and the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh asking them to publish proper details regarding the eligibility and rules before inviting entries.

He also asked the Chief Minister to ensure that the awards for the year 2017 should be given in 2018 after appropriate assessment.

The artists are pleading the government to spare the Academy of corruption for the sake of the art.

Sharma has requested all artist community to join hands and fight against the irregularities in the Academy to ensure justice with deserving artists.

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Art & Culture

Book Review: Teashop at Narkanda by Sumit Raj Vashisht

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tea-shop-at-narkanda

Shimla-based travel writer and a tourist guide, Sumit Raj Vashisht, had released his new novel ‘Teashop at Narkanda’ very recently. Himachal Watcher received a copy of the novel from the writer for reading. After reading it we thought of sharing a review with our readers. For avid readers, the novel is a four to five hours read. Two types of characters are, more or less, idealized. People are either pure evil or are overwhelmingly kind. Writer yearned to create a balance between agonies of human life and elements of hope. Role of destiny is emphasized irrespective of writer’s intentions.

However, the writer did succeed in creating a high-tension melodrama. Behavioral attributes of some characters agreed with reality. Description of routine life in Shimla or Narkanda and accounts of socio-cultural aspects are accurate. The writer is acquainted with religious rituals, ceremonies and beliefs of native culture. Depiction of geography is convincing as well.

Plot

Those who have been to Narkanda, can match the description of this bus stop at a small market in upper region of district Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. The plot is based on one of India’s dreariest natural disasters -Kedarnath flash flood in 2013 that had killed over 5,000 people and had rendered thousands homeless. Dreams and hopes of not only families but each individual were shattered in just one moment. Birju, the protagonist in the story, is one such teenager, who had lost everything including his parents and siblings. He is left with nothing back at home, so he moves to Shimla in a hope to find means to livelihood. He should have been to school at that age when empty pocketed he struggled for shelter and food. Carrying the trauma of his loss, he wanders like an orphan only to find trivial jobs at small dhabas. At night, he sleeps under a canopy behind the church on the Shimla Ridge. The narrator often saw him sitting on a bench in front of the Christ church. The narrator, who is also struggling in his own ways, hears the traumatic story of the boy. But the narrator finds himself helpless to offer any help to the boy owing to his own turmoil.

The story of Birju is narrated by the writer.

The usual, unhealthy work-environment and poor treatment of helpers at dhabas add to the agony of the protagonist. But that wasn’t all. The circumstances take a dramatic twist when the boy discovers a news about his family. Not all of his family members were dead. This discovery was followed by a long struggle for survival by protagonist and his family. The house, land, and all possessions were lost in the natural calamity. Evil relatives add to the misery of his family.

The academic ambitions of a teenager now conflicted with desperate need to earn a living. With little education, working at a tea shop at Narkanda was all he could find on the name of employment. He is stuck there for over a decade, living a miserable life.

New characters continue to emerge as story progressed. The writer used them to introduce twists in circumstances. The protagonist is more an outcome of circumstance than his karma or hard-work. But what was the ultimate fate of the protagonist and his family?

The perfect circle of helplessness that surrounds the protagonist throughout the entire story contradicts with attributed positive personality traits. It’s towards the end of the novel when Birju punches his owner and leave him unconscious. Otherwise, Birju is always a victim. This helplessness would appeal to emotionally sensitive readers, of course.

The writer tried hard to introduce characters with detailed description, which is admirable. To conclude the review, we would say, the novel is worth a read and readers will find it motivational.

About the Writer

Sumit Raj Vashisht 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. Hills are Sumit’s first love, he belong to them. 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.

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