When Saanjh’s father sends her away to live with her grandmother in a remote village, she feels dejected and tries to escape. However with time as her bond with her grandmother becomes stronger, her understanding of home changes.
Set in the beautiful Kullu valley in Himachal Pradesh, Saanjh follows the journey of a 16-year-old girl from Chandigarh named Saanjh (Sanju), who becomes the victim of cyber crime. Instead of supporting his daughter, her father sends her away to their ancestral home in a remote village to live with her grandmother. Isolated and dejected, Sanju is unable to cope up with the village life where she encounters an imbecile house guest, Jonga, with whom she has a rough start. As time passes, however, she finds solace in his company and with him hatches a plan to raise just enough money to escape from the village and return to her home in the city. Meanwhile, Sanju gradually begins to understand her grandmother’s pain of living a secluded life and they bond over being ostracized by the man who failed to be a good son and father at the same time. When Sanju’s grandmother falls sick, the film captures that unforgettable saanjh (dusk) when twilight dissolves into the darkness of loss and despair.
Why should one watch Saanjh?
Saanjh marks the debut of Producor and Director, Ajay K Saklani, who, through this movie attempts to bring to the fore the lesser known Himachali language and tries to revive the almost forgotten Tankri Script. Saanjh is the first feature film to have been made in the Wesern Himalayan/ Pahari (belonging to the hills) language. Shot in several picturesque locations in and around the Kullu Valley including Shangarh, Parvati Valley, Great Himalayan National Park and Rohtang Pass, Lake Parashar in Mandi and also in Lahaul and Spiti Valley, the movie treats the audience with some of the most mesmerizing shots taken from the remotest corners of Himachal Pradesh. The serenity of village life amidst the Himalayas reaches the peak of sublimity as the visual tour is accompanied by some of the most melodious songs rendered by Mohit Chauhan and Pavithra Chari which strike the heart strings of even those who are unfamiliar with the Pahari dialect.
The movie provides a perfect audio-visual setting for a beautiful confluence of the emotional journeys of a daughter, a mother and an orphaned boy as the sun sets on their lives and dusk sets in. Saanjh was the first film in Himachali dialect to be released in cinema halls and was amongst the 22 feature films of 2017 which were listed in the tender for film acquisition by the Ministry of External Affairs, India.
The film was screened in various film festivals across the world including the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival and Cinema the Bayou Film Festival. Saanjh won the ‘Best Feature Film’ award at Borrego Springs Film Festival, 2017 and ‘The Award of Merit’ in Accolade Global Film Competition, 2016. Based on the acclaim of this film, Ajay K Saklani was awarded the Himachal Excellence Award in 2016 and Himachal Award of Excellence in Cinema in 2018.