Chandra and her husband, Dharam, run the Swizerland Homestay, an inn that hovers high above the only road in a small Himalayan village. The terrain poses a problem for the family, who must transport their son Prakash down the mountain in his wheelchair to go to the doctor and school. Though Chandra believes Prakash needs more medical attention, Dharam isn’t as keen on the idea. He’d rather put the money toward a shamanic ritual he believes will rid them of a deity’s curse, the cause of Prakash’s affliction. Tensions increase as their worldviews collide and slowly erode their familial ties.
The debut feature from writer-director Ajitpal Singh, Fire in the Mountains is a searing portrait of the power dynamics at play between tradition and modernity in one family’s foundation. With handheld camerawork and seamless tracking shots, Singh vividly captures the beauty and hardship of their daily lives. Fire in the Mountains is bolstered by Vinamrata Rai’s commanding performance as Chandra, a woman unafraid to stand her ground and find ways forward for her family and village.