Private Project

Ghost Villages of Himalayas

89 year old 'Ammaji' lives alone in a nearly abandoned ghost village in the strikingly beautiful Himalayas of Uttarakhand, India. Like most of the younger generation, her children have moved to far away cities for jobs. But Ammaji refuses to leave her home, the only place which makes her happy even in the face of encroaching leopards, relentless loneliness and raw, harsh conditions. "Even after death I would want to become one with this soil" Ammaji says.
She is invited to attend a village ceremony and she embarks on a tough journey and makes her way to the hill top temple. On the day of the ceremony a leopard marks its gritty presence by killing a cow in the village, showing that the deserted villages are now nothing but vacant spaces of silences with attracts wildlife.

  • Kuldeep Sah Gangola
    Human Trafficking
  • Kuldeep Sah Gangola
  • Jack Zylstra
  • Kuldeep Sah Gangola
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Culture, Old age, Migration, Death, Leopard, Himalayas, India
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes 4 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 16, 2019
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  • Language:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Kuldeep Sah Gangola

An alumni of St. Joseph’s college, Nainital and Christ college, Pune, Kuldeep is a distinguished editor and has edited over 16 documentaries, travel videos and advertising campaigns. His growth has been just remarkable and he has an eye for pacing and the rhythm with which the story moves forward. He has edited various informational documentaries such as ‘Sowing Seeds’ to create awareness amongst rural farmers of India. He travelled to Vegas and made a short film ‘The zen life’ about a cancer patient holding unto her last years and how she thrives on her artwork. He has created travel videos in the Himalayas and shares an intense passion for adventure sports like Skydiving, Scuba diving and proximity bird suit jumps. He left his home when he was four years old and has been traveling to various places ever since. In midst of switching places and locations he developed a keen sense of photography and used to document places, people and culture in their most vibrant forms. Along with being a student at Christ college he did his one year diploma in travel and fashion photography from FAD international college. His exhibit of portraits and landscapes throughout his travel were greatly admired by people of different backgrounds. He then switched to documenting places and compiling footage of various places which he would then edit into short films. His journey has been truly inspiring and he has come a long way from the interiors of Uttarakhand to become an outstanding editor filmmaker. His vision of taking the level of storytelling and making a collaborative for local filmmakers and photographers is something to watch out for in the upcoming years.

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Director Statement

The story is set up in the Kumaon region of Himalayas, India. The story introduces the main character in a very unique way by capturing her isolation effectively. The slow and lingering life of the old people left behind after the migration hit in the place show us that there is not much going on. People find pleasure and emotions in the smallest of things around them. But
not much else facilities around the characters are by themselves depending solely on each other. It’s a documentary that follows 89 year old woman Ammaji trying to survive and cling unto her homeland as death surrounds her. The film has an overall universal theme of death - the approaching death of Ammaji, the literal death of the leopard killing village animals and the metaphorical death of the villages dying with its deep rooted culture. The choice of location in the interior of Kumaon region in the Himalayas is because of the worst migration hit seen in the past decade.