Cine Talkies ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ flagged off in Mumbai


Sanskar Bharti, a well-known organisation working towards the promotion of Indian art and culture worldwide along with the Academy of Theatre Arts, Mumbai University, and IGNCA celebrated 75 years of Independence and the contribution of Indian cinema towards it.

In the first of many to the lead up a two-day seminar, Cine Talkies: Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav was flagged off in Mumbai today.

Arjun Ram Meghwal, Union Minister of State for Culture and Parliamentary Affairs, inaugurated the event in the presence of a galaxy of key dignitaries namely Padma Shri Awardee Asha Parekh, Renowned writer-director Padma Shri Chandraparaksh Dwivedi, Mr Sachinand Joshi, Member Secretary, IGNCA, Dr Suhas Pednekar, VC, Mumbai University & President Sanskar Bharti along with Shri Vasudev Kamanth among others.

Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal said, “We should not forget the sacrifices of the freedom heroes, and the films that have played an immense role in keeping the same zeal and memory alive over the years.” He further added, “I appreciate Sanskar Bharti for creating a platform to celebrate the 75 years of Independence. This is truly going to bring light to our country’s beautiful Independence journey, today surely is the ‘Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’.”

The Encyclopaedia on Bharatiya Cinema was launched along with the Cine Talkies Souvenir which marks its first-ever conclave on the contribution of the Indian film industry to the Indian freedom struggle.
 Congratulating Cine Talkies, Padmashri Awardee Shrimati Asha Parekh said “I congratulate Sanskar Bharti for adopting this beautiful conceptualisation and making it into a grand celebration. Our country is a diversified collaboration of language, art, cultures, society, and most important folk art. Sanskar Bharti is doing a commendable job in creating awareness among the common man of our country.”

A conversant presentation on film makers who were a part of the freedom struggle was presented by Dr. Pradeep Kenchanaru. Followed by a panel discussion moderated by Mr. Rakesh Mittal on Dada Saheb Phalke’s motivation, vision and art with Mr. Paresh Mokashi, Mr. Kamal Swaroop, and Mr. M.K Raghvendra. The second-panel discussion was moderated by Ms. Runa Ashish Bhutda, with keynote speakers: Mr. A.K Raveendran, Mr. Manoj Muntashir, and Mr. Subodh Bhave, talking about ‘Patriotism as a driving force for Indian Cinema.’

Anurag Verma, associated with Himalayan University and Sanskar Bharati Uttarakhand felt that along with better film subjects; better techniques and treatment for film production was the need of the hour. He reiterated the fact that in the near future Sanskar Bharti would organize workshops across the country to work on these lines.

Manvee Nautiyal, Representative of Sanskar Bharti Uttarakhand and Himalayan University expressed her concern about independent film makers. She felt that their contribution should not be forgotten and be recognised across different platforms.  Adding that films that showcase our rich heritage, bravery and real heroes of our country should be encouraged.

Uttarkashi libraries more than just stores of books


Dateline Uttarkashi: If you happen to be in Uttarkashi anytime soon then do look up the Government District Library, Uttarkashi. Founded in 1964 this iconic building got a recent makeover and technical overhaul adding to its appeal.

Boasting of over forty-five thousand books ranging from Hindi literature to English literature, Gazetteers, Research papers by various scholars. Motivational, History, Social, Cultural, Competitive guides, Novels, Poetry the library is a heaven for those who enjoy the magic of the written word.

With two employees manning it round the clock, the Government District Library has three well-equipped branches in the district one at Chinyalisaur, Badkot and one in Bhatwadi as well.

Librarian since 1998, the Government District Library has been under the watchful eyes and supervision of Shri Akila Bhatt who tells me, “With the recent technical overhaul, archiving and new subscriptions added to the list, the number of daily readers and visitors has gone up tremendously.” He further adds, “We have people from across age groups, both men and women who come in on a daily basis to spend time here.”  A sure-short sign that this store of books and knowledge is making an impact by catering to the needs of the community at large.

With over eight hundred registered members in Uttarkashi alone, these libraries cater to over hundred daily readers, research scholars and young students who visit its archives while going through daily newspapers, periodicals and magazines in its naturally lit corridors.

With a generous donation of books form Raja Raj Mohan Roy Foundation, Kolkata, Valley of Words Trust, Dehradun, the library is well-stocked and up-to-date.

Its recent overhaul both exterior and technical was carried out by its previous District Magistrate Mayur Dixit in the year 2020-2021 in order for the students to make full use of its potential and prepare themselves for upcoming competitive exams in the future.

A comprehensive guide on Uttarakhand’s avian delights


Dateline Nainital Mussoorie: Ever found yourself wondering about the name of a particular bird you saw on your visit to Uttarakhand? Uttarakhand kay Pakshi/Birds of Uttarakhand has all your answers to the State’s varied avian delights.

Recently launched on Amazon, this comprehensive guide is available in both Hindi and English. It took a dedicated team a little over three years to compile four hundred bird fifty species of birds found exclusively here. Authored by Nainital based Aneel Bisht the two hundred and forty eight pages book has been published by Leafbird Foundation.

What makes the guide even more endearing is the fact that it is illustrated with close to six hundred hand-painted birds by ten voluntary artists of Uttarakhand.

Bela Negi fills me up about the project from Mumbai,  “I have done the Hindi translation, producing, designing etc of the book and feature as a co-author. All the work was done on a voluntary basis and all profits from the book go back to the Leafbird Foundation.”

For the past seven years and counting, the Trust has been working in remote villages of Uttarakhand tackling migration.  In trying to develop livelihood opportunities for the villagers and in creating an awareness about the environment, the trust held a few birding camps for the locals.  The villagers made a demand to have a bird guide in Hindi and what started as a booklet developed into a full-fledged book in English and Hindi – the first of its kind for Uttarakhand.

Bela further adds, “I would describe it as a book by amateurs for amateurs, where we have kept the language as non-technical as possible and made it user friendly. We are especially excited about the Hindi version as that will allow the villagers to become bird guides.  Also it will be a handy guide for tourists traveling into the mountains.”

In the coming days, the Trust plans to work on a comprehensive guide on the flora fauna of the hillstate as well, another collectors item I am sure.

Adding Gandhi ji’s visit to Uttarakhand’s tourism map


Dateline Srinagar: With the sole initiative of creating a new tourism circuit in Uttarakhand, Centre for Mountain Tourism and Hospitality Studies, Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University made a documentary film entitled ‘Uttarakhand me Gandhi paryatan Path,‘ retracing Bapu’s footprints across the hill state.

The twenty-three minute documentary retraces the route taken by Mahatma Gandhi when he visited the hill state of Uttarakhand over six times in the early 1920’s. It also incorporates Bapu’s love and affection for the hills, the river Ganges, Uttarakhand’s scenic and therapeutical affect, Bapu’s speeches and concerns  on his visits to Uttarakhand.

With technical help from Dharohar Films, Chandrashekhar Chauhan has directed the documentary. The theme song of  ‘Uttarakhand me Gandhi paryatan Path,‘ is based on Gandhi ji’s favourite bhajan ‘Vaishnav Jan To,‘ sung in Garhwali by Dr Sanjay Pandey and his wife, Dr Lata Pandey.

Recreating history and a tourism circuit based on Gandhi’s visits, the team highlighted cities and towns that he had a strong connect with. From Haridwar to Gurukul Kangri, Rishikesh, Dehradun, Mussoorie, Nainital, Bhamwali, Almora, Chanoda, Kausani and Bageshwar, the team retraced Mahatma Gandhi’s footsteps interlacing visuals with information and history.

With a talented and abled-team the research, co-ordination and production of the documentary was carried out by Dr Sarvesh Uniyal. The visuals were interlaced with interviews with Prof Himanshu Bodai and Prof Renu Shukla, while Harish Bhatt, Chandrashekhar Chauhan and Mahesh Painuly brought alive the scenic beauty of Uttarakhand on the screen.

Launching the documentary Adjunct Professor Dataram Purohit said, “The documentary not only adds historical value to a place with potential for tourism, it changes a beautiful landscape into a sacred geographical entity.”


Overwhelming response for 2022 PFC-VoW book awards


Dateline Mussoorie: Forty odd publishers. Over Four Hundred books. Keeping its date with tradition the Valley of Words, Literature Festival received an overwhelming response for its 2022 PFC-VoW book awards given under eight categories.

In its sixth year running, the literary festival has grown in leaps and bounds creating new milestones along the way. The 2022 PFC-VoW Book Awards are being given to eight authors under the following categories: English Fiction, English Non-Fiction, Hindi Fiction, Hindi Non-fiction, Translation from regional languages into Hindi, Translation from regional languages into English, Writing for Young Adults and Picture/Children Books.

The longlist of close to twenty books in each category were dispatched to an esteemed jury settled all over the country and abroad. The jury has the uphill task of selecting ‘five best’ shortlisted books by mid-June. The final winner under each of the eight categories will then be announced at the grand finale to be held in November in Dehradun from 11 -13 November.

Together with its knowledge partner, the National Digital Library of India, the Valley of Words team plans to announce the shortlist during the four weekends of National Reading Month, starting June 19 in honour of   P N Panicker, the father of the Library and Literacy Movement in Kerala.

Talking about this year’s longlist, Festival Director Dr Sanjeev Chopra said, ‘I am overwhelmed by the response – we have some of the finest authors from across genres and across languages- almost every book which has been reviewed and discussed in the calendar year 2021 finds its place in the nominations. The Indian publishing industry certainly deserves a bouquet for all the offerings it has placed before the reading public.”

Our esteemed Jury consists of people who have left an indelible mark in their chosen field:

Prof Garima Srivastava: Hindi Fiction

Professor at JNU, eminent writer of Hindi. Has worked in many languages i.e. Hindi, Bengali.

Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed: English Non-Fiction

Professor Emeritus, eminent political scientist and historian, winner of the PFC VoW Book Award 2021

Menaka Raman: Young Adults

Former advertising copywriter, communications consultant and columnist, winner of the PFC VoW Book Award 2021  

Padmaja Ghorpade: Translations from regional languages into Hindi

Retired associate professor, Founder & President – ‘Parikrama’ Trust, eminent author, winner of the PFC VoW Book Award 2021  

Paro Anand: Picture/Children Books

Author of children books, young adults including novels, short stories and plays, winner of PFC VoW Book Award 2021

Rajeev Sharma: Hindi Non-Fiction

Poet, globe trotter, wildlife photographer, an administrator, winner of the PFC VoW Book Award 2021

Ranjita Biswas: Translations from regional languages into English

Well-known author, independent journalist and award winning translator of fiction from Assamese, winner of the PFC VoW Book Award 2021

Dr Surekha Dangwal: English Fiction

Academic, author and Vice Chancellor of the Doon University, Dehradun

Stay tuned to this page for more updates

Weekend Pop-Up Shops at Cafe Commune


Dateline Dehradun: Making the most of the Covid lull Café Commune is stepping forward to host over a dozen local artists from Dehradun this Easter weekend.

With something for every age group, the colourful mix of Pop-up shops will showcase creations by local artists from the valley. As Co-owner Bhavna Bist fills us in, “We at Café Commune have always collaborated with artists to provide them with a platform to showcase their art. The Outdoor Pop-Up Shops is an effort to encourage and promote local artists and their handmade products this coming weekend.

The two day event will be held in the garden of the Café on the 16th-17th of April from 1400hrs to 2200hrs. (2:00 -10:00 p.m.). The event will showcase trendy utility items, fashion clothing & accessories, décor pieces, souvenirs, stationery, art, planters, homemade pickles and the likes, Macrame art among others.

In the two and a half years Café Commune has supported umpteen community events be it their Community Bookshelf, Community Wall, events tailored around artists from Dehradun.

The on-going dot mandala exhibit by Rahul Khanduri a young graffiti & mandala artist beautiful collection has been well-received by those who come visiting the Cafe (up until this weekend) including a Burger making Workshop for young children have been completely sold out. With interactive sessions such as story-telling, baking, craft activities, youth interactive workshops listed for almost every weekend, the café has been able to stand out amongst its peers.

So do mark your calendar for this weekend and be a part of this community event.

Latest from the pen of Archana Painuly ‘Aaj ki baat karen’


Archana Painuly adds another feather to her cap with her latest book ‘Aaj ki baat karen.’ A translation from Danish award-winning novel ‘Dette burde skrives i nutid’ by Helle Helle the Hindi translation was launched by Ambassador Pooja Kapur at a virtual event hosted by Uppsala University and Aarhus University.

Helle Helle a famous Danish writer received international fame for ‘Dette burde skrives i nutid’ that has been translated into twenty three languages, including Hindi published by Prabhat Publishers.

At the book release, Ambassador Pooja Kapoor stated, “Cooperation between Denmark and India is growing and this book will strengthen the relations between Denmark and India in social, cultural and literary form as well.”

The virtual session was moderated by Dr Heinz Werner Wesler, Uppsala University, Sweden.  Dr Vivek Shukla, Assistant Professor at Aarhus University said, “This is the first Danish novel ever translated into Hindi.”

The event was virtually attended  by several academicians, readers  and scholars from around the globe including Denmark, India, Bulgaria, and the UK. It highlighted the fact as to how the book helped understand readers about Danish society and culture, lifestyle in small villages and towns, cuisine, society at large and the relationship between men and women.

Dr Rashmi Singla, Associate Professor at Roskilde University stated, “Through this translation, Hindi readers will not only know the difference between the two cultures but also the similarity.”

Other speakers included Dr Anand Sharma, Dr Munnalal Gupta, Dr Madhuri Subodh, Smt Sarojini Nautiyal, and Dr Vanya Dhagat who  presented their views on the book and the translation.

Translator Archana Painuly said, “I want to build a literary bridge between Denmark and India and this translation was an effort in that direction.”  Uttarakhand’s daughter, Archana Painuly, M.Sc. B.Ed. has been blazing a trail in the world of Hindi literature since 1988. In 1997 she moved to Denmark to be with her husband. A teacher at the NIS International School Archana’s teaching career spans three decades but she finds writing and translation to be her true calling.

Archana’s forte remains, short stories, articles, and novels, translation into Hindi including a few in English that reflect on the current ethnic and migratory issues with special reference to the Indian community in Scandinavian countries.

Mussoorie: Paradise Lost

Work in progress

Dateline Mussoorie: A three-day weekend is all it takes for Mussoorie to burst at it seams. With hoteliers boasting of 60-70% bookings in hotels for the Holi weekend, maybe some of you thinking of a quiet get-away, should give it a second-thought!

Courtesy the augmenting of the Payjal Nigam, 35-kilometer stretch of Mussoorie is all dug up. Executive Engineer Sujeet Kumar Vikas informs us, “Sanctioned in January 2020, out of the 112 kms to be covered under the given project 35 kms has been covered for distribution to-date. The work completed includes six out of the twelve reservoirs, three pump houses and more. 59% of the project has been accomplished in the last two years.”

Unable to make the most of the initial pandemic lockdown sighting lack of labourers, the present gang of workers are trying to make up for lost time.  Sujeet Kumar Vikas adds, “Our target it to complete pipe-laying on the Mall road until end of the month. Post which we will relocate to the rising-main area. Before that we will ensure that we have done hydraulic testing, that the roads are restored, and we have made sufficient arrangement for distribution system as well.”

In the meantime, the town deals with broken sewage channels; disrupted water pipes and telephone wires in a tangled mess. “The entire length and breadth of Mussoorie is riddled with potholes, mud-fill and dust. It is an adventure venturing out on foot let alone using your two-four wheelers to get around,” adds a Mussoorie resident.

As it were, the traffic snarls in Mussoorie are legendary, and adding to the new-found chaos is that the town is dug up!

SDM Mussoorie, Naresh Chandra Durgapal tells us, “PayJal Nigam officials have been instructed by the Dehradun District Magistrate to visit the site and submit a compliance report by today.”

And until such time that any concrete action is taken, the Mussoorie Mall remains to have more craters than the moon!

Yellow Marigold adds another feather to its cap

Ella and Ami, Happy times

Dateline Dehradun: Yellow Marigold at the Berry House played the perfect host for an exclusive Table Styling Workshop held recently in the city.

Ella Garg of Yellow Marigold tells us, “Though we launched in 2019, the pandemic stalled things a bit. We always wanted to bring such ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas to the city. Yellow Marigold plans to have many a ‘firsts’ in the city in the coming months bringing joy in our customer’s homes, through our products and such curated experiences.’

Conducted by Ami Kothari from Dining Couture a Mumbai based company, the two-hour session showcased how one could spruce up their table and make it the focal point of your dining room. Simple yet elegant techniques showcased by Ami made an instant connect with the select yet engaged audience.

Ami stressed on how easily one could transform everyday items lying around the house into personalised and pretty tablescapes such as fresh or faux flowers, empty glass bottles, candles and the like. In Ami’s words, “The highlight of the afternoon was actually having male participants which actually goes to show that gender roles are finally evolving. The participants particularly enjoyed the beach theme, the night setting as well as incorporating daily household items for table decor.’

Ami Kothari’s class in progress

With complementing colours and textures being the key, Yellow Marigold (an upcoming home decor brand from Dehradun) exclusive tableware designs and colours blended well with the themes. The Wild Rose collection with its bright plum colours brought out classiness, while the Sunflower yellow plates made for the stylish beach look. As the green Oyster plates complemented the festive colour scheme. At the workshop, one also got a sneak peak into Yellow Marigold’s latest collection ‘Daisy Dreams’, a youthful flower design to be launched this summer.

Those present at the venue walked away acquiring new skills of how to set up a special ritual for all your meals. As Namita Mumgain, one of the participants felt, ‘The workshop was fantastic, how one serves really enhances the eating experience. This was the first-of-its-kind event at Dehradun. Hats off to Yellow Marigold & the Dining Couture team. Those who weren’t able to attend have missed something really magical.

Looking forward to many such magical experiences via Yellow Marigold in the near future.

The Art of Tea Blending 

Glenlicious Tea

Dateline Mussoorie: For many, the pandemic was not the end of the road, but an opportunity to chase their dreams. One such example comes from Mussoorie.  Proud parents and their doting daughters settled across the globe have carved a niche for themselves when it comes to TEA, the aromatic beverage.

Located in Mussoorie, Glenlicious has become the prime manufacturer and supplier of a range of speciality tea products. The tagline for this is “Delicious from the Mountains.” Although the town doesn’t have any tea plantations, yet as its head-quarters, the blending, tasting, packaging and shipping is managed from their Mussoorie office & subsequent branch office in Chandigarh.

Years ago, Mussoorie resident Inderjeet Singh co-founded Le Zeit Business Ventures Private Limited with his three daughters, today the company has ventured into Le Zeit Watches, Le Zeit Home décor items and Glenlicious food products. The company strongly believes – “It’s really important to us that people know they matter and their requirements matter. We constantly thrive to produce products that are responsibly sourced and will make a difference to our customer base. We wouldn’t have it any other way!”

The Glenlicious family

Pallavi, Shail and Ravi all co-founders of the company, have their roles cut out. While Pallavi has an eye for detailing. She is the creative mind behind the entity, in her words – “I want to contribute to the industry through design and responsibly sourced quality products. My motto remains:  be observant and thrive to make a creative difference.

On the other hand, Shail is the skilled hand. Her prime responsibilities lie in growth of customer base and channel partners. In her own words – “We are not just creating profits for ourselves, but we are ensuring healthy products for our customers as well without compromising on taste or health.

The youngest among the three sisters Ravi, handles the marketing and is the technical brain behind the business. Ravi passionately voices her thoughts around the products – “Whether it’s your strong, milky morning cup of immunity boosting tea, or punchy, tangy, fruity or floral non-milky flavours, or a traditional Kashmiri Kahwa, the objective is for the customer to experience smoother, deeper and richer taste. Our tea is not ‘just’ a cup of tea. It’s a conversation starter,” she signs off.

With superior class tea leaves sourced from tea gardens of Assam, Darjeeling and Kashmir  Glenlicious sources most of its natural blends locally from the hill state.  In the not-so-far-future Glenlicious plans to introduce a range of Chocolate blends, Hot Chocolate blends and Coffee blends.  But for now, you are spoilt for choice: Rose Tea, Mint, Jasmine, Chamomile, Lemongrass, Immunity Boosting Tea, Peach & Apricot including Kashmiri Kahwa each packaged in attractive zip lock Swiss packs, Jars, Tea bags & variety of gift bags ready to be shipped to their growing number of customers across India.

To order now call: +91 72898 61166 or click on