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

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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.

Watch Trailer:

 

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.

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A small initiative by bunch of creative people making a difference

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Healing Himalayas rainshelter art

Shimla: Shimla – a name that leaves many hearts pounding, many wandering souls want to travel to this place, is well on its way of losing its charm. Every hilltop blotted with concrete houses, every slope shrouded under littered waste, every corner of the town chocked to death by oil-guzzling machines – this is the new picture of our town that was once famous for being ‘Queen of the Hill.’

Visual pollution mostly remained unchecked, and the majority of the public properties like rain-shelters have become free advertisement boards. 

To whatever direction you throw an eye, all you see is the tainted landscape. A hazy skyline hidden behind a cloud of dust and pollution ruins the vista. If you ask who is responsible for creating this mess – the only sound that echoes in the mountains is bad governance.

However, holding the governance alone responsible would be wrong. The people of the town are equally responsible for turning our town, which once used to be a beautiful hill station covered in deodar forests, into a wretch place. The landscape turns gloomier when you discover more about how our once-a-beautiful town looks on the inside.

Rain-Shelter at the BCS in Shimla City before Revamping

No matter how gloomy the landscape of our town turns, there are always people with positive spirits who refuse to give up. This group of creative people, under the name of a Non-profit organization Healing Himalayas – in association with some local artists and volunteers, is a good example of how to work in the right direction and set things right.

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Before revamping

They are striving hard to bring back the lost glory of the hill queen by making small efforts like conducting cleaning drives across Shimla and inspiring people to not litter.

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Removing posters/pamphletsa

This doesn’t stop here. They are taking steps to beautify the town by giving bus stops or rains shelters a revamped look. Almost all bus stops are in a really bad state.

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Cleaning the rain shelter

I am not very sure if they serve the purpose of providing shelter to the public on a rainy or sunny day, but they are a free and open playground for advertisers. Every local company, business, institutions especially coaching academies come and use interior as well as exterior walls of rain shelters to advertise their services and offers.

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Painting after cleaning

In an effort to spread awareness on how to use public properties/places, the NGO takes to the streets of BSC, New Shimla on Sunday, May 20, 2018, and started peeling off posters and banners that stained the walls of the shelter beyond repair.

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The team which included about 25 artists and volunteers took over the shelter at around 7:00 am and removed all posters and banners from the wall.

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The poster removal drill that lasted for about four hours was followed by applying multiple quotes of primer and whitewash. That’s not it; to turn the once-an-ugly-looking shelter into a work of art, the enthusiasts covered the walls in beautiful artwork.

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An inspiring initiative by a bunch of creative people turned gloomy walls of the shelter into a life-size canvas where beautiful forms and figures started taking shapes. In the tireless process, the rain shelter was a changed place that looked no less than an art gallery.

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Inspiring art depicting endangered mother earth instils an element of emotion in the concrete walls. Blooming flowers, guitar, beautiful landscapes, and ‘Ardhanarishvara’ with moon arch as his head ornament turn the walls into a multicoloured art.

After cleaning and painting

From blending colours to make a perfect hue to making the right brush strokes took them about 8 hours to complete the paint job. And, the final output, which reflects their (the team) artistic approach towards a mundane life, deserves your attention. See for yourself.
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By Yash Sharma, Shimla

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

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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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