JagwalFirst Garhwali Movie by Parashar Gaur
Jagwal (The Movie) is the brainchild of Parashar Gaur, who has spent a sizable chunk of his life in promoting Garhwali culture. In the barren denuded hills of Garhwal, a celluloid sun had arisen. The release of 'Jagwal' (The long wait), on 4th of may 1983 at Mavalankar Auditorium at Rafi Marg, New Delhi, lifted the veil of Uttrakhandi cultural identity, which remained obfuscated by political recrimination, scant media exposure and retarded social and economic growth. Not surprisingly, the first Garhwali film has presaged an era of regional filmdom in the mountainous region.
Gaur conceived the idea of making a film way back in 1975, it was not till 1982 that the project took off. The main problem of course, was finance. Around 100 persons, mostly friends and relatives, chipped in to raise money for production. Once tangible feelers started coming in, Gaur got cracking on the project. He went to Bombay with just Rs. 5000 in his pocket to hire a crew, which could comprehend and project the Garhwali culture. He picked up the cast from Garhwali theatre in Delhi. None of his artists had ever faced the camera and this naturally resulted in a lot of precious footage being wasted. However the "Jagwal unit was not deterred and the film was shot on location in 22 days. The total cost of the production was 8.5 lakhs.
'Jagwal' was released in Delhi on an experimental basis, as Gaur put it, to "gauge the audience reaction". It appeared that the entire Garhwali population had descended on the theatre. Gaur was badgered incessantly for tickets, his kurta was torn apart and people pleaded that he should extend the one-week run.
Despite of many technical difficulties 'Jagwal' undoubtedly made the Uttrakhandi's aware of their cultural identity and the migrant section of their roots. A trendsetter of sorts, it cast new rays of hope on uttrakhand's dim horizon.
There are a few interesting things about this brave new linguistic cinema which echoes from the hills of Uttrakhand. Who could have thought that amateur artists of Garhwali stage in Delhi struggling hard to raise enough funds for plays would be able to make a full length feature film. A band of young Garhwali theatre actors had been able to successfully complete a trying venture and distribute it among the local theatres of Garhwal. The film does not attempt to shock the viewers with the stark poverty of the hills. It does not raise and radical slogans. The main strength of the film lies in the way it captures the innocence of the hill people. There are shots of mountains, valleys, forests and streams. The folk dances and songs captivate the audiences. They are authentic and inter woven in the script. The moving spirit behind the production is Parashar Gaur. A man of many parts, Gaur was an eminent figure on the Garhwali stage in the capital as he now resides in Canada. He is a playwright, actor, stage director, film producer and a poet. His long experience with the theatre helped him to bring together the best theatre talents available on the Garhwali stage and obtain their full co-operation.
The film was invited to the Film Festival of India as well as U.P. Chul-Chitra Nigam Festival. The film has been telecast by Doordarshan Television, the Prime T.V. station of India, One of the World's largest Government based T.V. station. Parashar's second film 'Awaz' (old name 'Dhai') will soon be released very soon.