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Review: “Heesan”- Touching play based on Dev Kanya’s story on woman exploitation staged at Gaiety Shimla

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Himachal Culture

SHIMLA- Very Recently, walls of Gaiety Theater in Shimla witnessed a remarkable stage performance during staging of Heesan – a play based on the story of Dr. Devkanya Thakur by the members of Rangpriya.

As the play began, a woman, between the age of 30 to 40, is seen contemplating her past life and how excited she was to become part of a local fair where her mother performed in front of Shivamaharaj palki. She was all mesmerized and star-struck by the beauty of her mother who is respected by all members may that be priest, rich merchant or any other to name. As a child she always considered herself to be daughter of Shivjimaraj and was always happy to learn all dance forms from her mother.

Devkanya Thakur

Time passed and she replaced her mother and unaware about the reality of “Heesan” her joy knew no bound. But her dreams were dashed to ground within hours as she was taken away by one of the members and physically assaulted. Thus began her journey as true “Heesan” – who is said to have been married to Lord Shiva and in name of her service is forced to serve male members of committee.

Shimla Gaiety Theater

She gets pregnant by one of the members who passes her over to other member. Just like a football in field that gets kicked and used by all but owned by none. She decided to educate her daughter and on this fruitful day she awaited her daughter’s examination result, who stands first.

Seeing her photograph in paper again the members of committee visit her house and say that it was time for her to pass on the legacy of Heesan to her daughter which she refuses and pleads her biological father to save her. All forcefully take her daughter away and convert her into Heesan.

Himachal Theater Artist

She is sitting lamenting over her fate when her daughter enters house with her father who finally stood up and took responsibility of her daughter and dismissed the fact that child is born out of union of Shiva and Heesan. Between the fight among phallus and spine, the spine won and restored everyone’s faith in Shivjimaharaj who is a great protector.

The play carried out very intense and heart wrenching scenes with perfect esthetic veil. The agony of a girl during her journey of becoming Heesan to a mother was conveyed without a miss. Her exploitation by all men was depicted with full intensity and beautifully that audiences could feel her pain as if that of their own.

Situation of father’s to be or not to be was beautifully expressed and till end it didn’t not seem that he had a spine to save his girl from falling prey to the evil practice of exploiting a woman by all in name of being Shiv Maraj’s servant (Shiv Dasi).

The play did complete justice to the story as it made audiences sympathies and empathies with the protagonist. It forced all to contemplate on the practices that exist in our society in the name of customs and rituals. If everyone decide and stand up against the wrong traditions where poor are exploited then time is not far earth itself will become paradise.

However, if considering the makeup then yes there one saw a miss as it was story of numerous years and during all the while only protagonist age showed difference and no other member of committee. They all didn’t even had a single grey hair nor any other physical change that is the gift of time to every individual.

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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.

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

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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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