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Indian Soap Star Attends Cinequest Film Festival

posted Oct 27, 2011, 1:30 PM by Diana Rohini LaVigne

By Diana Rohini LaVigne / Special to India-West

San Jose, Calif.—To a packed house at the California Theater in San Jose, the North American premiere of Semshook delighted film lovers at the 20th anniversary of the Cinequest Film Festival 2010 which kicked off last week.  Indian soap star and upcoming host of “India’s Got Talent”, Roshni Chopra made an appearance to support her husband, Siddharth Anand Kumar who directed the film about one man’s journey in search of truth.

The film started us off in the intimate world of Tensin, an Indian-resident with Tibetan roots.  Being tired of not knowing who is really was, this young man sets off on a journey that ultimately turns into a journey towards himself.  His daily trials and mishaps, that lead him towards a stronger self awareness, range from being mugged, being forced to work at a petrol station to pay a debt, and spending time with a hippie-like drug induced group of guys who seemed to be without any care in the world.

During his main journey towards to Tibet which he believed held the truth for him, he met his Indian step mother and half-brother who his father ran off with in his own attempt to become more Indian and therefore less confused about his ethnic divide of being an Indian resident yet ethnically Tibetan.  His father left behind his most treasured possession before his death years prior to Tensin’s arrival; a photo of the Dali Lama.  Tensin becomes more determined to get to where he calls home, Tibet at all costs.  He is looking for freedom and the truth and after a near fatal motorcycle accident, almost starving to death and losing every possession he owned; he is arrested after crossing into China.  The soldiers torture him and ridicule him for desiring freedom. They claim they have freedom but Tensin becomes aware that freedom and truth has been with him all along.  The self realization allows him to be free, but this happens just before he meets a tragic turn of events.

The film’s cinematography was well executed and the locations around the Himalayas were exquisite on the big screen. Although some of the film’s themes seemed, at times, too repetitive, Semshook may have a wider audience given the abstract concept and underlying messaging might be less obvious to feature-film-only lovers. The director Kumar, writer Satyajeet Gazmer, and Producer Francisco Leria all stressed the importance of this film is in raising awareness for Tibetans living in India that don’t have full rights as citizens.

“Indians know very little about Tibet,” said Kumar. This is why he wanted to be involved with this film.

He added, “Tibetans have not been fully integrated into the Indian community. Life for Tibetans is very different than others.” He said there is nothing he knows of being done to change the attitudes. He couldn’t emphasis enough how important it is for as many people to see Semshook as possible.  They are in touch with many organizations including the Students to Free Tibet and are actively looking for champions to show the film and promote further discussion around its topic.
If you want more information on the film, visit them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Semshook/149184638462. For more information on the film festival, visit www.cinequest.org