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UK filmmaker’s poetic ode to Indian birthplace premieres in London

UK filmmaker’s poetic ode to Indian birthplace premieres in London

Lalit Mohan Joshi’s ‘Angwal’, a semi-autobiographical documentary set in his Himalayan birthplace to explore the tradition of its traditional poetry, gets its premiere in London next week.

The film, which translates as embrace, sees the Londoner return to embrace the hills of Kumaon in Uttarakhand to explore the poetic roots of his family. The film, shot by Rangoli Agarwal in the picturesque locales of Nainital, Ranikhet, Almora, Naukuchiatal, Malaunj, Shitalakhet and Sattal, will have its UK premiere at BFI Southbank as part of the South Asian Heritage Month.

Joshi, founder of the not-for-profit South Asian Cinema Foundation (SACF) in the UK, notes: “Combining the spoken word with music that typifies the region, the film captures the responses and deep philosophical worldview of some representative poets in the face of a society undergoing profound change.

“The film also presents a bird’s eye view of the high points of Kumaoni poetry as I have interspersed the narrative through poetry, anecdotes and Kumaoni music, composed by Chandrashekhar Tiwari and Harish Pant.”

‘Angwal’ profiles eminent poets of the region, with some of their poems featured as songs that provide thematic musical interludes.

"It’s a rare film of poetry and literature, preserved in the rare dialect of Hindi language (Kumaoni),” says lyricist and poet Gulzar in praise of the film.

Award-winning filmmaker Shyam Benegal added: “It explores the rich culture and the incredible beauty of its landscape that has served as an inspiration to poets, singers and artists of the region in the flowering of their art.


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“Beautiful meadows carpeted with flowers in the shadow of the mighty Himalayas which stand as immortal sentinels to protect these charming foothills with their sky-blue lakes and rushing streams of bubbling rivulets and waterfalls gurgling down to the plains. ‘Angwal’ is a loving ode to the Kumaon region of the Himalayas which Lalit Mohan Joshi and his ancestors can rightly claim as their own.”

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