India | 2018 | 97 min | Gaddi | Director Attending
Improvised from a 15-page treatment and featuring a cast of locals, this mystical drama is set in the Himalaya’s upper Dhauladhar range, right above Dharamshala. One day in 2012, as an old Gaddi shepherd and his servant tend to their sheep and goats, a fighter jet crashes in a distant valley. The servant schemes to make his fortune by scavenging the jet’s parts but the shepherd insists they continue their migration through the Indrahar Pass. When they emerge on the other side, they discover that, despite the presence of air-force helicopters and Gaddi rescue teams, neither pilot nor wreckage has been found. The shepherd becomes convinced the crash occurred near the ‘Sacred Mountain’ where, according to legend, a rich, arrogant herdsman once vanished. Upon news of a potential reward, he begins to behave strangely and becomes caught in metaphysical quest to the mountain, leaving his livestock to the mercy of free-roaming predators.
Ridham Janve was born in 1986 in Ajmer, Rajasthan, and grew up in Udaipur. A graduate in communication design from the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, he previously directed the short Kancheaur Postcard (2013). Describing The Gold-Laden Sheep’s setting, Ridham says, "It is not a film with lots of postcard images of the Himalayas that we often see in travel shows. I attempted to portray nature in its real form—cruel and gentle at the same time. If you surrender all your energy to nature, your imagination can come alive.” He continues, “The sacred mountain in many cultures is portrayed as a symbol of the earth, spirituality and eternity … For the Gaddi community of the Dhauladhar range [it] represents the unexplained balancing force of the universe, which could bless you or destroy you.”