Born and brought up in a small remote village of district Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, India, Ajay became fascinated by cinema when he saw TV for the first time at the young age of 11. During his college, his passion for cinema motivated him to join theatre, where he started his career in acting. Unsure about where to begin his career after college, the same passion brought him to Delhi, where he joined the TV industry as an editor. While at working with many TV channels in various capacity, he learnt about editing, camera, directing etc and also pursued his masters in mass communication & journalism. During his stint with TV industry, he made couple of independent documentaries focusing on socio-cultural issues, one of which titled ‘Upaasmar’ is about deaths due to malnutrition among children, in the tribal region of the state of Maharastra (India). The documentary was screened in various film festivals and appreciated worldwide.
Moving Back to The Roots
While majority of filmmakers start their career from Mumbai, however for Ajay, the dream of launching the non existent pahari cinema, brought him back to his roots. Ajay, strongly believes in the power of cinema and the desire to preserve and promote the fast disappearing Himachali language and culture, using cinema as the medium, motivated him to set up his production house ‘ Silent Hill Studio’ in Himachal Pradesh in 2014.
Unique traits: Direction & Cinematography
TV in the Fish Tail
Film (Short and Drama) Producer As electricity is introduced to a remote Trans-Himalayan village, an adolescent boy struggles to reconcile his excitement with the abjection that surrounds him.
A Million Rivers
Film (Drama) Second Unit Director or Assistant Director A Million Rivers is a surrealist, quasi-narrative fiction film set in South Asia. Themes of fragmentation and fantasy are explored in this black and white contemporary classic: a man with a mirror reflects all that is around him, never turning the mirror to reveal himself.
Film by Ajay Saklani (Drama) Producer, Director, Cinematographer, Writer Set in the beautiful Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh, Saanjh follows the journey of Sanju, a 16-year-old city girl who becomes the victim of bogus social-media posts. When her father discovers a compromising online video in which Sanju supposedly features, he consigns her to their remote ancestral village to stay with her grandmother. Isolated and dejected, Sanju encounters ill-mannered house guest Jonga and finds surprising solace in his company. Unable to adjust to the village lifestyle, she hatches a plan to escape the village with help of Jonga, but need time to raise enough cash. Meanwhile, Sanju slowly begins to understand her grandmother’s pain—living a secluded life with almost no contact with her children—and a deep bond grows between them. When the grandmother falls sick, the film focuses on one unforgettable Saanjh (evening) in which they are caught between light and darkness.
Upaasmar: The Taste of Hunger
Film (short) by Ajay Saklani Director, Cinematographer, Producer, Editor
Award of Merit
Best Director (Best Feature Film)
Himachal Excellence Award