Meet Himachal’s first tribal woman to make a mark in filmmaking
It is tough to enter filmmaking when you come from a small state like Himachal, and even tougher to stay put.
What makes Renu Negi’s success even more remarkable is the fact that she is the only tribal filmmaker from Himachal who has carved a niche for herself in the world of filmmaking.
Born and raised in a humble family in the lesser-known Dubbing village of Kinnaur, a tribal district dotted with rugged mountains, lovely meadows, orchards and furious rivers, Negi has learnt values like diligence, sincerity, integrity and hard work in the early formative days of her life.
Her love for nature stimulated her creative side and she had guts to enter a field where only a few women have ventured so far.
After completing her education from Shimla, Negi completed her apprenticeship with some of the known film-makers, which helped her in acquiring the finest nuances of filmmaking.
“When I look back, my journey has been full of struggle. It was never easy. I have gone through various hardships to reach where I have been today,” said Negi.
Negi began with the making of small videos of Himachal folk dances which were telecast on a royalty basis on Doordarshan, Delhi.
Later, she started producing documentaries related to Himachal, Art and Culture as well as health issues in 1997.
To promote her films, Negi approached the Himachal Pradesh government which got her films previewed by a committee comprising expert filmmakers like Rajiv Mehrotra and government officers.
The appreciation from the committee encouraged Negi to start professional filmmaking.
“In the struggling years, my endeavour was to extend a helping hand to her father in making a good living and gradually opted for the mainstream media,” said Negi.
The New Delhi those days was an established media hub and the journey, in the beginning, looked arduous but I chose not to give in, she added.
After the initial struggle, she got empanelled for the various Ministries of Government of India and Doordarshan as an independent filmmaker and started her own production house RN Productions in 1998.
“My tribal background was initially seen as an instrument of undermining my strengths but my resilience and determination paid,” said Negi.
She has made more than 95 films on various subjects of national and international importance and for government and private agencies.
Despite her work being recognised at various levels, Negi said, she continued to work on improving the quality of my films.
The big moment in her filmmaking journey came in 2018 when she won two awards at 8th National Science Film Festival of India (NSFFI). Her film “Yak: The ship of Mountains” was awarded the best science film. Besides, she also won the best cinematography award for beautifully depicting the beauty of Kinnaur.
Negi said her production house always gives opportunity to budding talent—many of them the newcomers who opt for the internship to get the first-hand knowledge and technical experience in filmmaking.
She has portrayed the tribal art and culture in her films and the Himalayan tribal belt is her domain of proficiency with the Himachal Pradesh being her first love.
Recently, she has produced a documentary film on “Homestay in Himachal” titled “Ghar Se Door Apna Ghar”. Most of her films were focused on tribes of Himachal including Lahaula, Pangwala, kinnaura, Gaddi and Gujjars.
She also produced films on the culture and customs of Uttrakhand’s Buxas tribe, Bhil, Gond, Bega tribes of Madhya Pradesh and also tribes of Northeast.
Her film on Nishi Tribe Serial “Ek Nishi Aurat Ki Kahani”, fiction film “Wapsi” and documentaries on Mishmi, Khamti, Sherdukpen, and Khasis of Meghalaya and Tribal Musical Instrument of India were telecast in the weekly programmes titled “Janjatiya Darpan” on DD National.
Presently, Negi is also doing science-based programmes for India science OTT TV Channels & DD Science.