IT’S in his own home town in Loharu, in Haryana’s Bhiwani district, that Aditya Sangwan decided to begin his journey as an independent filmmaker. The 23-year-old has recently produced and directed an 18-minute documentary film Loharu Fort, The Great Story Never Told, which captures the rich history of the Loharu Fort, made by the nawabs of Loharu in 1802. The fort is located between Shekhawati and Delhi, 10 km away from BITS Pilani, with Madawa, the film city of Rajasthan 40 km from this fort.
“It is a hidden gem and can be a great tourist attraction, but sadly is in a dilapidated state. We decided to make this documentary to draw the attention of the government towards the fort, so that it can be renovated and preserved, for it is an important part of our history,” says Sangwan, adding that the documentary has been selected in nine film festivals, screened in Italy and also screened in Kota, New Delhi, Gwalior and Kolhapur.
With his roots in Loharu, a nine-gun salute state, Sangwan says the fort’s architecture is what captured his imagination, as many nawabs contributed to the construction of the fort, resulting in an interesting and versatile blend of several styles of architecture and work. The fort was in the hands of subsequent nawabs of Loharu till 1971, when the last nawab sold it to the government. “Since then, the fort has been abandoned and is in a neglected stage. Mirza Ghalib’s wife Umrao Jaan was the daughter of the Nawab of Loharu and the poet visited the fort frequently. Another eminent poet Daag Dehlvi is also from Loharu Fort and if the fort is renovated and opened to the public, people will become aware of its rich history and heritage.”
A journalist by education, Sangwan has been deeply interested in art, culture, films, music and theatre and recalls that every time he passed by the fort on his way to school, he thought he would do something for it. “I met people in college who were open to the idea of making a documentary on the fort, and one day we just decided to pack our bags and go to Loharu, with our cameras and equipment,” shares Sangwan, who is now based in Delhi. The lack of historical documents and
material on the fort, was a challenge, as the team went around interviewing people about the fort, and also looking at books to research about the fort, nawabs and architecture, and meeting scholars and writers who have done work on historical monuments. “Research and editing took the longest time, with our documentary editor Aman Kadwasra putting in a lot of work to give the documentary its final form, and we all used our own funds to make this documentary. Visuals are the most powerful medium to present any emotion and as we wanted to reach a wider audience, we chose to make a documentary film which people from different sections could connect to. We hope it will give the fort a new lease of life,” adds Sangwan, who is now working on a project on Kangra Fort, one of the oldest surviving forts of the world.