By Anjali Nauriyal
‘Sumeru’, a film shot under the banner of Padmashiddhi Films is slated for a 1st October pan-India theatrical release.
This tender love story set in the midst of one of the most intriguing Himalayan snow ranges and symbolises the new and refreshing efforts emerging out of small towns such as Doon, creating new stars and storylines.
Shot in difficult conditions in the mist-shrouded snowfields of Uttarakhand in the vicinity of mesmerising Harshil, including the ‘Sumeru’ Mountain Top where the story culminates, with a minimal team during Covid Times, the film is a visual delight.
The film also symbolises how negative conditions can be overpowered with positive efforts to attain desired results. The totally driven young writer, director and producer, Avinash Dhyani is cut out of iron genes being son of a fauji. “You can do it when things are tough, and you can do it very well is my motto,” he avers, while talking about shooting in lean Covid times when hopes were at an all time low. “With my strong and determined team we actually turned a negative situation into a positive one. Covid did not deter us and the difficult terrain did not dampen our spirits. We accentuated our strengths and the result is a film that has shaped up exactly as per our expectations. The initial climb itself was quite challenging, but once we were well entrenched with our equipment, tents, etc., in place, we knew we were set for an experience of a lifetime.”
At the heart of the film are emotions involving a parent, and a beloved. The simple plot tugs at your heartstrings from the very first frame, when Bhanvar Singh (played by Avinash Dhyani), the Haryanvi speaking simpleton, sets out in search of his missing mountaineer father (played by theatre enthusiast, Abhishek Maindola).
Bhanvar Singh’s journey is beset with stumbling blocks but he continues undeterred prompted by love for his father. Enroute he chances upon Savi Malhotra (played by Miss Uttarakhand 2018 Sanskriti Bhatt), who is fleeing from the mundane routine of a rich life and prospects of a marriage bereft of love and excitement.
Avinash with his earthy appeal, and Sanskriti in her ethereal avatar, portray realistic characters in conflict with each other from the word go, only to realise that it is love that reigns supreme in their lives! One of Savi’s dialogues in the film, “Re Chhore Yo Pyaar Hai, Thari Samjh Ke Bahar Hai,” is sure to catch the fancy of youngsters.
The amazing landscape of Harsil, Uttarakhand, wherein the story is set, has never looked so captivating. Cinematography by Harish Negi romances the snow effortlessly. He has not only captured the beauty of the enigmatic mountains and the dangers suffered at high altitudes, but also the resilience of mountain folk.
The film also stars Shagufta Ali (best known for her work on television shows such as Saans, Sasural Simar Ka and Saath Nibhana Sathiya) and Satish Sharma, who has worked in popular films such as Sultan and PM Narendra Modi and the web series Peshawar, etc. His soon to be released films are Hindutva, Firkee, Bole Chudiya, The Bestseller She Wrote, apart from others. Ali is her usual effervescent self as the heroine’s mother; while Sharma as the heroine’s father is in a refreshing avatar, quite different from his usual politician type appearances. The father-daughter relationship comes to the fore in the latter part of the film, highlighting the messy reality involving this sensitive bond.
Suruchi Saklani makes an interesting debut in the film.
Prashil Rawat serves well the structural purpose of the plot as the fiancé in opposition to the hero. Jeet Maila Gurung, originally from Nepal, provides comic relief with his remember-worthy performance.
The rest of the cast includes Arvind Panwar and Madhavendra Singh Rawat in important roles.
Seventeen-year-old Naomi Nauriyal, a student of The Asian School, makes her debut as one of the Assistant Directors in the film.
Ravinder Bhatt and Avinash Dhyani are the co-producers of the film.
Music is a key ingredient in Sumeru. Sunjoy Bose has composed the winning music of the film with Mudit Baunthiyal as assistant, while a huge team comprising Rishi Raj Bhatt, Arun Kumar, Vinay Joshi, Rishika Mishra, Vijay Bhatt and Nishant Mishra has penned the lyrics.
The playback singers include Shekinah Mukhiya (one of the finalists of Voice India Kids reality show on TV), Rishi Raj Bhatt, Megha Dhyani, Khyati Roy and Shresht Negi.
Amit V Kapoor, with Mohit Kumar as editor, has composed the alluring Background Score that adds atmosphere to this endearing love story.
The film has been shot at stunning locations of Uttarakhand including Dehradun, Harsil, Mussoorie, and Dhanaulti.
In other words, this film has emerged out of the fabric of the Himalaya Mountains. Now it is for the Uttarakhandis to make it a success, so that other initiatives can show similar gumption, surpassing all challenges. And thereby will begin a new saga!