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New documentary captures shamans of Kullu Valley


New Delhi : A docu-feature film “The Shamans of the Himalayas” documenting the ethno-spiritual mores of the picturesque Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh, will premiere at the India Habitat Centre Tuesday.

The Kullu Valley is known for its local demigods and ancient shamanistic traditions that govern the lives of the ethnic communities inhabiting the lower Himalayan slopes.

The film is shot by noted filmmaker and television producer Anu Malhotra. The 100-minute English documentary film will open a three-day retrospective of Malhotra’s films, “The Journey is the Destination”.

The festival will be inaugurated by the president of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Karan Singh.

The documentaries to be screened at the festival are “The Shamans of Himalayas”, “The Maharaja of Jodhpur”, “The Konyak of Nagaland” and “The Apatani of Arunachal Pradesh”.

“The Shamans of Himalayas” is a journey into the mystic world of rituals and myths of the Kullu Valley, popularly known as the “Devbhoomi- The Land of Gods”. Every village has several resident “gods” and “goddesses” – who are invoked as living deities.

The conduit between the mortals and the deities are the “gur”- the traditional shamans of Himachal, who form the core of the communities’ spiritual sustenance. The “gur” mediates between the people and the gods.

Malhotra carries her crew across the remote Himachali highlands chronicling sacred and secret rituals, magico-religious practices, traditional healing methods and exorcisms.

She speaks to shamans, oracles, trance mediums and healers to narrate their personal stories and tribulations.

Malhotra manages the boutique production house, ATM Television, which has created quality non-fiction content for leading television channels.

A travel show pioneer in the Indian television, Malhotra was the mastermind behind the presenter-based experiential format for travel shows with her multiple award-winning programmes, “Namaste India” and “Indian Holiday”.

Malhotra has formatted the project on “Behaviour Change Communication Project” – ‘Haath Se Haath Milaa’ that won a global award from United Nations in 2007.