Notes on Guler and Two Short Films
“Guler, a small principality near Kangra, was an artistic and cultural wellspring since its founding in the fifteenth century. Many master painters, including Pandit Seu, his sons Manaku and Nainsukh, and the poet Brajraj, were born here. Today the whole system of patronage under which lofty endeavors were possible is mostly forgotten. Tragically, the physical landscape is also submerged under a dam. The film seeks out some traces of the submerged past through the memories of those left behind, especially from the erstwhile royal palace” (Smithsonian Institution). Dutta recalls, “I first visited Guler . . . to research and scout locations for my film Nainsukh. . . . Just like the way Pahari paintings had achieved a fine amalgamation of sophisticated philosophical and aesthetic ideas with an accessible folk form, I sensed a deeper refinement in this culture. . . . I decided to explore whatever is remaining of that culture, be it architecture, painting or poetry. . . . Guler became a laboratory that I went back to again and again.” With two shorts that further explore the cultural history of the Western Himalayas through dreams and scholarship.
Amit Dutta, India, 2017
Drawn from Dreams
Amit Dutta, India, Switzerland, 2019