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SOS- Shivaji Park of Shimla – Plight of town’s children depicted in short-film by Vivek Mohan




SHIMLA– Film-maker Vivek Mohan has released the trailer of his upcoming short-film “SOS – Shivaji Park of Shimla”. The film is scheduled to be released on March 28 this year. The filmmaker, who is born and brought-up in Shimla, spent about six months to shoot the documentary that intends to highlight misery of children in Shimla. In this 21-minute short-film, Mr. Vivek has taken up an issue that hardly caught anyone’s attention – lack of playground or even open space for children to play. In Shimla, children literally do not have any open space to play, which is a matter of concern. He named the documentary after the famous cricket stadium in Mumbai that has produced players like Sachin Tendulkar. The Mumbai administration had opened the stadium for children to play. In Shimla town, the historic Ridge, which is basically a water-reservoir, is compared to the Shivaji Park as it’s the only common space that children have on the name of playground.

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Not just this issue, but he has taken up the issue of degradation of Shimla due to urbanization in his short-film. Mr. Vivek has also won the National Award for his short-film “Malana – In Search Of” on Malana village in Kullu valley.The current production would be his third dedication to Shimla.

It’s worth mention that Mr. Vivek has been raising the issue for years now. As per administration, letting children play on the Ridge causes inconvenience to tourists and people. The administration has always expressed its helplessness to provide even a single playground for children. Once, children used to play on streets when the traffic used to be very dilute. Now, the urbanization has snatched these roads, too, from children. The Annandale Ground is under army control and children can’t go there. World’s highest cricket ground in Chile is for showcase to tourists and children aren’t allowed here either. The open space at Chaura Maidan comes under restricted road and the one in front of gate of Indian Institute of Advance Studies is occupied by cabs. 

What remained was the historic Ridge Shimla where children used to play cricket or cycle around. However, the district administration and Shimla police have chased away the children from here as well.

As a matter of fact, children are not just deprived of space to play, but also from an essential aspect behind development of a healthy, complete personality in social context. It’s no less than violating the right of children to play and repression of their playfulness. Secondly, Shimla hardly produces sportsmen because of the same reason.

In 2011, after a letter from a child regarding lack of playgrounds to play, the Himachal Pradesh High Court had asked the Shimla MC why there were no grounds for children. SMC had mentioned lack of funds as reason in reply. Administration is completely blank on the issue as it struggles with carrying out usual business like water supply and sanitation. In such times, the filmmaker has come out with another attempt to highlight the plight of the children through his short-film. In fact, Mr. Vivek has created a public group “Halla Bol and Baat” on Facebook too. 

Shimla town is on the verge of losing its beauty, serenity, and purity of air. There is hardly any ecologically harmful practice from haphazard and unscientific construction on hill slopes to burning municipal solid waste that town doesn’t follow. In such times, cinema can play a vital role in highlighting such critical issues through short-films or documentaries.

In fact, Mr. Vivek has talked about lack of encouragement to young filmmakers in Himachal from state government. The artists are still producing sub-standard video albums while some others have found a platform through social media like YouTube. However, it’s a good time for the administration to step in and think about lifting the level of cinema in Himachal, said Mr. Vivek.

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.

City Lifestyle

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



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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Bollywood film-maker Onir conducting auditions in Shimla for his next film



Teenage Shimla girl actors

Shimla: Shimla-based production house ‘Secret Corridor Pictures’, run by award-winning filmmaker Siddharth Chauhan, is looking for new faces for Onir’s upcoming film “Kuch Bheege Alfaaz”. The film will be shot in Shimla.

Onir is a National award-winning director and producer. He needs a young girl in the age group of 14-18 from Shimla to cast in his film.

Onir has directed films like: My Brother Nikhil, Bas Ek Pal, Sorry Bhai, I AM, and Shab. His ‘Chauranga’ had won him multiple awards last year.

The Secret Corridor is looking after the casting & production process for this film. The production house is currently scrutinizing applications and organizing auditions.

In the first round of the auditions was conducted online and five finalists were selected out of over 50 applicants. These five candidates were invited for an interview with Onir on October 8, 2017.

The production house is also looking for actors in all age groups for other projects.

Onir’s films are known for the unique content that works as a trailblazer for the Indian film industry.

He is the man behind ‘My Brother Nikhil’ – the first Bollywood film that addressed the sensitive topic of homosexuality and AIDS.

His other film ‘I AM’ had won him the prestigious National Award & many other awards at various international film festivals.

The interested candidates can apply for auditions alongwith their pictures and other details. The candidates can either apply through e-mail at [email protected]” or through Facebook.

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Himachal gets a ‘War Museum’ at Dharamsala as reminder of martyrs



dharamsala war museum

Dharamsala – The ‘War Museum’ at Dharamsala was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday, August 9, 2017. He also laid the foundation stone of the Freedom Fighters Memorial at Dari.

The War Museum, he said was a reminder of the sacrifices of the valiant soldiers of Himachal Pradesh, right from recipients of Victoria Cross to Parmveer Chakra. The Museum would offer a flashback to learn more about the Nations first Param Vir Chakra recipient, the highest gallantry awardee, Major Somnath Sharma to late Captain Bikram Batra, Saurabh Kalia, and others who laid their lives for the sake of the Nation.

Recalling the Kargil war, he said that 54 brave soldiers from the soil of Himachal had laid their lives. These sacrifices will find mention in this War Museum.

The Museum is spread over a total area of 2190 square meters and built at a cost of Rs. 9.85 crores. Outside the Museum, the statue of General Zorawar Singh and murals of heroic deeds are on display.

The inner Hall houses busts of Vir Chakra awardees, Jamedar Bhandan Ram and Jamedar Lala small description of their legend on the wall against a golden background.

The busts of Param Vir and Vir Chakras include those of Major Somnath Sharma, Major Dhan Singh Thapa, Captain Vikram Batra, Major Sudhir Walia, Hony. Captain Sanjay Kumar.

The Museum also houses photo gallery of all PVC recipients of the country besides the medals of various gallantry award recipients including Victoria Cross, Ashok Chakra, Vir Chakra etc.

war museum himachal

Photo: Divya Himachal

There is also a 5×2 foot Ashoka Pillar beside a Pakistan captured flag, regimental flags, Medium Machine Guns etc.

The State government has requested the Government of India for MIG-21 and display of other warfare machinery, said representatives of ‘State Martyrs Memorial Service and Development Society’.

The inauguration of the Museum was timed with the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the quit India movement also known as ‘August Kranti’.

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