ABOUT THE FILM
Roshni lives in the land of the Gods known as Dev Bhoomi and wants to travel to the land of Illusions, Mumbai city known as Maya Nagari. Located at the foothills of the Himalayas the north Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are known as the land of the Gods.
The idea that sparked the making of this film was Roshni’s which made the process of scripting and executing this documentary very interesting. Having assisted directors on feature films where one needs to create a scene to give it meaning, here we were getting a chance to explore the purest form of film-making with no second take.
We were trekking through Himachal Pradesh when we met Roshni for the first time in her wood-locked home in Raogi village. The house is a 100 years old and is constructed entirely with the wood of one Deodar tree. The windows of the house are carved wooden frames through which we could see the snow capped Himalayan mountain range. The quality of light in a location like Raogi which is at an altitude of 8,000 feet (above sea level) is so crisp and clear that the environment looks picturesque and enchanting at any given time.
After several cups of tea and hours of conversations Roshni decided to fill us in on a secret. She looked us straight in the eye and confidentially voiced her wish of travelling to Mumbai. The television has been her only view of the city and her dream was to see if Mumbai city is for real. We spent the last leg of our travel in Raogi village. Roshni is an excellent host and a masterful cook with a confident demeanour. When she speaks, she does like a woman without constraints. That made our conversations even more in-depth and led to a bond of a special friendship.
In the train on our way back to Mumbai we spoke about Roshni’s dream. What if Roshni did travel from the land of the Gods to the land of Illusions? The global environment is shaped by the sum of what its inhabitants do, which in turn is shaped by how they think. Born and brought up in Maya Nagari we were curious to explore the thoughts and mindsets of the people who live in the land of the Gods. Roshni wanting to travel to the land of illusions added to this curiosity.
After 18 months of research, scripting and gaining insight into the various plot lines that were going to run through this documentary, we were ready to shoot. Roshni was aware that we were traveling to Raogi but had no clue that we were traveling with equipment and a script for a documentary titled ROSHNI. Travelling to Mumbai was meant to be a surprise for her. And after coordinating with her husband Jaidev and keeping him in the loop of our shooting schedule we reached Raogi village as planned. To our luck Roshni was busy in her apple orchard which gave us enough time to hide all equipment. The next morning at 6, we climbed up with Roshni along with our camera and monopod into the Himalayan jungle to cut firewood. Roshni thought we were taking photographs on our Canon 7D DSLR which worked perfectly in favour of the awaited surprise. When we returned, Jaidev who had volunteered to reveal the surprise to Roshni did so successfully. This is how it all began.
We got the opportunity to interview some dynamic people during the course of filming. Roshni is born in Raogi village situated in the Beas valley region of Kullu. She is a farmer who has her own apple orchard that she lovingly nurtures. She belongs to the Pahari culture of Himachal Pradesh and has grown up surrounded by pristine beauty, breathing clean air and prefers eating the food that is grown by her own hands for she finds it immensely satisfying. The water she drinks comes straight from the glaciers and she is a fan of Lassi which is prepared from the milk of the village cow. She is a young, energetic and exuberant woman who is in control of her life. Her husband Jaidev is originally from Delhi who in his search for peace and tranquility found the village of Raogi and never went back. He is a seeker by heart and a poet with a desire to live a purposeful life.
Dr. Om Kumar Sharma is a Sanskrit scholar and the school principal of Shri Vyas Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya in Kullu. His school library is home to a vast collection of rare Sanskrit scriptures and texts. As a Sanskrit Acharya and an educationalist Dr. Om Kumar Sharma gave us an insight into Indian thought and classical wisdom. Shani Baba has built the Shani Nageshwar temple in Kullu. It is the first temple of its kind in reverence of the God of Fate, Saturn. Shani Baba is a Naga Sadhu with a large heart. After travelling all around the country, especially Mumbai city, he decided to live in Kullu where he built the Shani Temple with his own hands. Belonging to the Naga clan of Sadhu’s, Shani Baba has an array of knowledge on the medicinal herbs that are abundantly found in the Himalayan belt, especially a herb called Neelkanthi.
Dr. Vandana Shiva is a renowned scientist, quantum physicist and vedic ecologist. She is the founder and director of Navdanya and is actively involved in the rejuvenation of indigenous knowledge and culture. Dr. Shiva has created awareness on the hazards of genetic engineering and defends people’s knowledge from biopiracy and food rights in the face of globalisation. Navdanya is a biodiversity research centre that has its own seed bank and organic farms spread over an area of 45 acres in Uttarakhand. Dr. Shiva is the key proponent of the organic food movement in India and lives by the principle of ‘what we eat is who we become’.
Vidya Rao is an Indian classical singer and literary writer. We had the opportunity to be a part of her performance at the Bhoomi Festival in Navdanya where she sang verses from the Devi Mahatmya in salutation to Nature. The Bhoomi festival celebrates the Earth as a Mother where Margaret Alva, the former governor of Uttarakhand was present as a chief guest and gave the villagers, students, researchers and myriads of people present on this occasion advice on the preservation and importance of Indian knowledge and thought.
On the editing table we realized that our interviewees had given us a plethora of knowledge. We feel privileged to have met such gracious human beings. They spoke simply yet profoundly and gave us a documentary that speaks straight to the heart. ROSHNI means a ray of light. Within complete darkness when there enters a ray of light that is called ROSHNI. The journey of making this documentary was one of discovery, being open, learning and following curiosity. This experience allowed a different perspective and gave us the insight and knowledge to look at life in a whole new light.
When a human being is not driven by the survival instinct alone, it is then that he or she can do all the things that human beings are capable of. Through the process of this documentary we found that the thread of thought that binds the people who live in the land of the Gods emphasizes on the importance of human consciousness and quality of life. How happy we are outwardly simply depends on how we are within ourselves. By focusing only on the outside, life can become comfortable and convenient. But human beings will not know human well being in its entirety unless we turn inward.
Producer / Director / Cinematographer
Anshul graduated with a degree in Advertising for Mass Media and Communication. His involvement in Classical cell Animation, 3D Animation and VFX intensive projects as Post Production Supervisor and On-set VFX Supervisor has been extensive. As an Assistant Director, he has executed numerous commercials for Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment and with Asia’s leading VFX & Animation studio Anibrain.
Producer / Writer / Director
Nazneen attended Film school at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her career began as an Assistant Director at Aamir Khan Productions with the National award winning film Taare Zameen Par. She assisted on the Indo-Australian production The Waiting City, Bollywood blockbuster Ghajini, Student Oscar winner Kavi and was the Casting Director on the critically acclaimed feature film Dhobi Ghat.
Camera Equipment & Sound Facilities
Flamingo Films is Delhi’s full service production, Film and Television facilities house offering lighting, grip, camera, and sound gear for any size or type of production. Well trained staff take pride in offering services and reliable equipment with no on-set worries. As a continually growing company, it is always acquiring, designing and fabricating new versatile gears. Flamingo Films has been associated with Bollywood, Hollywood and International film production houses. It is also associated with SKYNEWS, NHK, UNHCR, ICON FILMS, ARTE, Wall to Wall Media, NDTV and many more.
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