Ladakh hosts first Himalayan Film Festival, Shershaah screened on opening ceremony

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Ladakh on Friday hosted the first-ever Himalayan Film Festival, which was inaugurated by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, officials said. The five-day festival is being held from September 24-28 as a part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations.

Shershaah, a film on late Captain Vikram Batra, was shown on the big screen for the first time during the opening session of the festival in the presence of actor Sidharth Malhotra and his co-actors, director Vishnu Vardhan and film personalities such as Vidhu Vinod Chopra and film critic Anupama Chopra.

The film festival, showcasing films from 12 Himalayan states and Union Territories to provide a platform to filmmakers, is being organised by the administration of Union Territory of Ladakh in collaboration with the Directorate of Film Festivals, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The film festival is being hosted in collaboration with the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh, the officials said.

Speaking during the event, Thakur termed cinema as one of the effective mediums to foster cultural diversity.

He announced that the transmission of Doordarshan (DD) Kendra-Leh’s programmes would be extended to one hour from half an hour from October 1. These steps, Thakur said, would enhance the outreach of All India Radio and DD in the region and provide platform to young local talents.

He also spoke on the emergence of OTT as a popular entertainment platform for the people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Quality content will ensure traffic and India has the potential to become the sub-continent of content creation, he added.

kiara advani himalayan film festival Kiara Advani penned her thoughts about the Himalayan Film Festival where her latest film, Shershaah, was screened. (Photo: Kiara Advani/Instagram)
Thakur assured that the demand for collaboration between Ladakh and the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) would be fulfilled at the earliest. Ladakh Lieutenant Governor (LG) R K Mathur expressed hope that the festival would encourage filmmakers and talented youth from Ladakh to take up this field.

He stated that the administration would make efforts to nurture the talent of the creative youth of Ladakh by imparting professional education and training to them. Addressing the gathering, CEC LAHDC Leh Tashi Gyalson termed the film festival as an amazing platform for filmmakers from Ladakh to showcase their creativity.

He stressed the need for having a premiere film institute in the region to connect local film enthusiasts with the mainstream film industry. Gyalson stated that the Hill Council would continue to play an active role in the future to nurture and encourage people of Ladakh to showcase their talents to the outside world.

Member Parliament from Ladakh, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, highlighted that a lot of initiatives have been taken in Ladakh by the Centre and the LG in the last two years.

The event, he said, is a significant event to pay tribute to the freedom fighters from the Himalayan region on the occasion of celebration of the ”Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” across the country.

Earlier, Thakur and Mathur launched the official poster of the Himalayan Film Festival. Jury members, including Manju Borah, Raja Shabir Mohammad Khan and GP Vijay Kumar, were felicitated during the event.

A short film on late Tashi Rabgias was screened during the event to felicitate the eminent scholar and historian from Ladakh, the officials said.

Veteran film personalities from Ladakh, including Late Tashi Rabgais, Ali Mohd, Morup Namgyal, Tsering Stanzin , Mipham Otsal, Phonsok Ladakhi and Haji Mohd Hussain, were felicitated during the inaugural ceremony.


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