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Shimla’s budding artist wins Satyajit Ray Award at London India Film Festival for his short-film



himachali film papa by sidharth at london film festial

SHIMLA-Short-film “PAPA”, produced under the banner of Secret Corridor Pictures, has bagged another award. This time, it grabbed the Satyajit Ray Award for best short-film at the London India Film Festival 2017 held from June 22 to 29. The film is written, produced and directed by 26-year-old Shimla based budding film maker, Sidharath Chauhan. PAPA was one of the only three films to have made it to the finalists from a Director based in India, the other films being from UK, USA and Switzerland. Organized by Bagri Foundation London, Indian Film Festival is an European Indian film festival.

After winning this award, perhaps, PAPA has become the first film from Himachal Pradesh to have won widespread appreciation in the short-film industry.

It was an honor to be a part of this competition and it is an even greater honor to win this Award,

said Sidharth after claiming the award.

Surprisingly, Sidharth does not claim any sort of professional training in film-making. Despite that, he completed the film in just six days without much professional and financial help. Most of the film is shot in at Young Women Christian Association (YWCA), Shimla.

I didn’t have a single penny, not a single professional’s assistance when I decided to make this film but with a strong resolve and with the support of my friends (Yashwant, Mridul, Aastha, Vibha, Ankit ) in Shimla, we begged, borrowed and did everything we could to make this film in the best possible way. It wasn’t easy for us but I guess all the effort was worth it,

said Sidharth after winning the award.

PAPA was first screened in Kerala at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival where it was judged as the Best Film for its “Innovation in narrative gesture and dark humor.

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.

Making of Papa short film

Behind the Scenes

Lead actors that includes Mohit Singh Parmar (Palampur, Sushma Kaul (Shimla),and Nandita Aron (Bareily) are also excited after receiving the news and expressed gratitude to Sidharth for this opportunity. Other crew members were Tanmaya Das (sound), Yashwant Kumar Sharma (Cameraman), Mridul Surbhi (1st Assistant Director), Aastha Sen (2nd Assistant Director), and Vibha Sharma (Production Controller).

Actor Mohit Singh Parmar with Siddharth Chauhan

Actor Mohit Singh Parmar with Siddharth Chauhan
Photo: Deccan Chronicle

Siddharth lives in Shimla (Jakhu). He founded Secret Corridor Pictures in 2012-13 with the aim of working with the local talent in his home town. The Corridor Pictures are known for their art house, content driven independent films like the Boys don’t Wear Nailpolish (2013) and Infinite Space (2014).

All of Siddharth’s films have been based in Shimla and have taken the local culture, talent and scenic beauty to places like Sarajevo, England, USA, Belarus, Italy, Durham, Indonesia, Canada, London, Paris and New Zealand.

Sidharth is earning the reputation of an Independent Filmmaker from Himachal who has taken locally produced films on International platforms.

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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