Fire In the Mountains- A powerful depiction of a woman stuck in war between modernity and traditions
Ajitpal Singh's feature film debut, Fire in the Mountains, which he wrote and directed is a sublime inspection of the friction between tradition and modernity. The film revolves around Chandra (Vinamrata Rai), Dharam (Chandan Bisht), Dharam's sister (Harshita Tiwari), and their two children, Kamla and Prakash (Sonal Jha and Mayank Singh Jaira, respectively) all live in the same house, a small ancestral home passed down in Dharam's family situated in the Himalayas in Uttarakhand Province. Their main source of income is renting a part of their home as a lodge Their son Prakash is wheelchair-bound and the physician recommends physiotherapy, which becomes a source of financial pressure for the family. Meanwhile, Dharam seeks guidance through religious ways and superstitions to help his son recover. These two themes form a central conflict and the film depicts how Chandra struggles and sacrifices so many things to provide for her family and her son.
The clash between spiritual and technological development is at the center of this film and is arguably its most interesting theme of the variety of themes this film tries to depict. Ajitpal constructs a strident critique of globalized India. There is a sharp contrast between the guests at the lodge and the owners of the house. The film constantly jumps to snippets of radio commentary about the development of India as a country where we are reaching the moon but the small villages show the core reality and the other side of a globalized India. The final and mid-plot twists are very well-executed and add brilliant praiseworthy layers to the film.
Vinamrata Rai gracefully plays the role of Chandra. The tasks of the character are very challenging both physically and mentally but Vinamrata never loses the grip on her character. Chandan Bisht marvelously plays the role of a man frustrated by the loser tendencies he has in many areas of his life. Every character has an interesting tangent and each of them is played brilliantly by all the actors. Cinematographer Dominque Colin wonderfully switches between the natural beauty and the haunting reality of the family of Chandra. Overall, Fire In the Mountains is a powerful and compassionate portrayal of the load that women carry and it’s so uniquely sewed with so many themes that might boil you in anger as well as feel sad for the harsh reality of the country.
NEW YORK INDIA FILM FESTIVAL WATCH #5