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‘Forgotten’ director Amar Sneh battling penury, health issues in Himachal

Writer, director and actor Amar Sneh is struggling to make ends meet in a rented accommodation at Dal village in Gohar subdivision, some 30 km from Mandi.

Writer, director and actor Amar Sneh, who directed the historical Somalian movie ‘The Somali Darvish’ some 38 years ago, has been spending life battling penury with multiple health issues far from the limelight. Sneh, 70, is struggling to make ends meet in a rented accommodation at Dal village in Gohar subdivision, some 30 km from Mandi.

When IANS got in touch with the film actor and director, he rued that he’s a forgotten star with no assistance from anyone when he’s struggling to meet his basic needs, either from the film industry or the government.

Narrating his tale of woe, Sneh, who has worked in films, television, radio and the stage as a writer, director and actor, said he came to Himachal Pradesh to set up a film city on the assurance of late veteran Congress leader and former Union telecom minister Pandit Sukh Ram, who belonged to Mandi town.

“I also met the late Virbhadra Singh several times when he was the Chief Minister and he assured me of government help in setting up an acting school,” he said, adding “the political rivalry between the two Congress stalwarts Sukh Ram and Virbhadra Singh had put the film city concept into cold storage.”

In the meantime, Sneh, who has acted in scores of films like ‘Sister’, ‘Cinema-Cinema’, ‘Amman’, ‘Saiyan Magan Pahelwani Mein’ and ‘Jan-E-Alam’, started the Sneh Film Institution in Mandi town.

For the past many years owing to his poor financial condition, Sneh, an approved commentator of Doordarshan who gave commentaries for 150 films and programmes, moved to an accommodation offered by one of his sympathizers in Dal where he’s giving acting tips to village students free of cost.

In 2021, he was struck with paralysis in half of his body.

Sneh has written and directed at least 17 plays — some of the popular ones are ‘Shoonya’, ‘Kavita Kahani Ke Beech’ and ‘Paravartan’.

Despite the popularity, the actor, who had directed one of the biggest Somalian English movie titled ‘The Somali Darvish’ featuring multilingual artists from 16 countries, says he remains forgotten by the film industry.

“Marne ke baad meri laash ko natak me istemal kar liya jaye (After my death, my body should be used in a drama),” he added.

Local social activist Hem Singh Thakur told IANS that Sneh’s health deteriorated after his second Covid-19 vaccination.

“There are many health problems. He needs proper medical examination. He needs financial help too for his day-to-day expenses,” he said.

“Before death, Amar Sneh-ji wants to contribute to society by sharing his versatile experience with the youth,” Thakur, a journalist-turned-activist, added.

A team from the district administration led by sub-divisional magistrate Raman Sharma on Thursday called on Sneh in his village and assured him of some financial assistance from the government.

“We have got information from social media that such a big personality is living in our area,” Sharma said.

Overwhelmed by the arrival of the official team at his doorstep, Sneh said all this was possible only in Himachal Pradesh.

Sneh presented a copy of his stories collection to the SDM. On this occasion, he also wrote an emotional poem.

“How can I live, give me a new face to live. I fell far, far away from myself. If someone leaves me, then bring me to myself.” (Translated from his couplets in Hindi)

–By Vishal Gulati

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