Once Upon a Village


Running time: 60 minutes - Language: Hindi w/English subtitles - Year: 2021

Official Trailer

Film Summary

“Villagers have a saying that the dead come back to visit the living. Now those of us who remain have only these ghosts for company.” Semla, is a ghost village in the Himalayan foothills.The 50 families that once lived in the village, have migrated to the city, leaving behind 7 people. With this migration, livelihood connected to the terrain and seasons have slowly faded. Like her village, Leela is old, resilient and forgotten. Despite loneliness and struggles with an aging body, Leela doesn’t want to leave for the city. Golu is the only young person in the village. She is desperate to escape to the city but doesn’t have the means. Dreaming for a different life, Golu roams around the abandoned village. As the film progresses, the two women face the invisible but palpable forces of migration. Their emotional journey changes their relationship with the place they call “Home”. As time crawls by, a way of life struggles to stay relevant. In this fragile existence, ‘Ek Tha Gaon’ explores life in a dying village where a haunting absence lingers.

Category: Mountain Culture


Srishti Lakhera

Srishti Lakhera is an independent filmmaker. ‘Ek Tha Gaon’ is her debut documentary feature about migration from the Himalayas, which she filmed in her own ancestral village. Srishti has also worked on many short films on culture, politics and agriculture of the Himalayan people. She has produced films for international organizations, government bodies, national and international television Channels. Srishti has been associated with grassroots organizations across India to conduct filmmaking programs and workshops.