AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE
Throughout the end of the first decade of the 21st century (2009 – 10), Antara Mali spent her time shooting at various Buddhist monasteries in and around Pelling. Pelling is a beautiful town in Sikkim. Dedicated to the role, this actor de-glamorized herself to play a Sikkim monk, going on to even shaving her hair off completely.
Image by femina.in
Antara Mali goes bald for the role of a female Buddhist Monk.
Pelling has monasteries that date back to the 17th century. Pelling is one of the lesser-known towns of Sikkim, and hence holds a sense of peace in its air. Although Pelling has acquired its own audience, it is not as embraced and talked about as it should be. This sense of being in the known and the unknown, makes Pelling even more desired.
Mali had been dormant in the industry for almost 5 years before the release of this film, but according to her, when she heard about this role from Director Amol Palekar, she immediately wanted to go ahead with it. “When I accepted this role, I already knew that I had to shave my head”, said Antara Mali.
Image by Rapid Leaks.
Antara Mali at a model shoot way before her role as a monk.
The film supposedly had a very low budget, but they still managed to shoot at some of the most beautiful locations in Sikkim. During a visit to Pelling, one can see the sun rising over the snowy tip of Mount Kanchenjunga or the Randentse Palace ruins of the former Kingdom of Sikkim. A life led in Sikkim is very different from the one followed by the rest of the world. Even in the movie, Mali’s character became a monk in Sikkim to forget her violent past, to eventually embrace spirituality and humanitarianism.
Image by F.I.G.H.T C.L.U.B.
…and once again poster.
The film revolves around a man who thinks his first wife has passed away but finds an uncanny resemblance between a female monk he meets at a Buddhist Monastery and his deceased wife. The movie was mostly shot in the beauty of Pelling and some areas around it.
Ringing prayer bells, the serenity in the valleys, the rhythmic chanting piercing the silence in the air, and the colourful holy flags around the magnificent monasteries – a description of Pelling, Sikkim, and its elegance. In the movie, the characters seem to be unaware of the twists in the plot, because they are very much hypnotized by the snow-capped peace in the atmosphere of Sikkim.