I had friend visiting me the other day. It was one of those balmy days when you can sit around all day chatting about this and that, and one of those aimless conversations involved the places we’d like to visit someday, which included Sikkim. None of us remembered anything about the time Sikkim became part of India in 1975, except things like how my mother had a beautiful dragon ring gifted to her by her brother who was an IAS officer posted there in 1975. As such we learnt very little about the land and its people in school. Then my friend told me there was a documentary on Sikkim, made by Satyjit Ray in 1971. I had never heard of this film, and its had a rather tragic history (Thanks, Diditi):
—(the film) has never shown in India, courtesy the ban imposed on it by the Union Government. The world lost track of Sikkim , the Ray documentary made at the request of the Chogyal, when the king’s American wife Hope Cook left the Himalayan kingdom to go back to New York, never to return.
There are only three prints of the film in existence, and two of them are beyond redemption. Hopefully, the $100,00 needed to digitally restore the print will materialize and we’ll get to see it.