Ajitpal Singh’s ‘Fire In The Mountains’ wins Audience Award at IFFLA

A scene from Ajitpal Singh’s ‘"Fire In The Mountains"
A scene from Ajitpal Singh’s ‘”Fire In The Mountains”

Self-taught filmmaker’s  debut Hindi feature had its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2021.

It’s interesting to see a self-taught artist coming up with a piece of work that touches the raw nerve with its unschooled freshness. Film maker Ajitpal Singh who made his debut Hindi feature ‘Fire In The Mountains’ has been able to do just that.

Ajitpal Singh’s 82-minute feature was the opening film of the 19th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA). It went on to win the Audience Award for Best Feature at the festival held virtually from May 20 to 27 due to Covid-19 pandemic.

The feature is not new to international accolades as recently it also had its World Premiere at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival 2021 as the only film selected from South Asia in World Cinema Dramatic Competition.

READ: ‘Chippa,’ featuring Sunny Pawar, premiering at IFFLA 2019 (April 12, 2019)

Written-directed by Ajitpal Singh and produced by Jar Pictures, ‘Fire in the Mountains’ also had some other recognition coming its way.

It recently won two top awards, Silver Lady Harimaguada and Best Actor at the prestigious 20th Las Palmas De Gran Canaria International Film Festival held in Spain.

Excited about winning the Audience Award for Best Film, Ajitpal Singh says, “We always have an audience in mind when we make films. It’s so great to know that Fire in the Mountains resonated with its viewers in California and they rewarded us with the audience choice award at IFFLA.”

And well, there may be a reason why the feature resonated with Indian Americans as well as American audience.

Centering around the dilemma of choosing tradition or modernity, a world we inherit or a world we want to emulate, the film strikes a chord with first and second generation immigrants.

Perhaps, it is this idea, presented thoughtfully that managed to speak to its audience across Europe too.

The Las Palmas De Gran Canaria International Film Festival, Jury stated they were impressed with the “film’s ability to portray contradictions in contemporary India and its dilemma between tradition and modernity with apparent simplicity while expressing its characters’ complexity.”

The intense family drama is about a mother who toils to save money to build a road in a remote Himalayan village to take her wheelchair-bound son for physiotherapy, but her husband believes that a shamanic ritual is the remedy and steals her savings.

The film  stars Vinamrata Rai, Chandan Bisht and Sonal Jha, and first time young actors from Uttarakhand, Harshita Tewari and Mayank Singh Jaira.

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