Entertainment

Nepali movie industry ready to step up: Ghimire

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Mar 19, 2017- The Nepali movie industry is changing—both in terms of content and mass appeal. In the last year, bold new projects like Kalo Pothi and Seto Surya captured imagination both at home and abroad, winning numerous awards and critical acclaim. And with the sales of mainstream feature films also at an all time high—as highlighted by the record-breaking Chhakka Panja—the industry is ready to take the next step in its evolution, according to popular veteran director Ujwal Ghimire.

“This is a great period for the industry,” he said, in a recent conversation with the Post, “There are new ideas being introduced by us directors, the budgets and quality of movies are increasing, and because the Nepali Diaspora is now spread around the world, Nepali movies are finding a wider exposure as well.”

Ghimire, who first worked as an actor after debuting in the 1984 movie Adarsha Nari, eventually ventured into direction with the Saroj Khanal and Shree Krishna Shrestha-starrer Gothalo in 1996. Since then, director Ghimire has been a mainstay of the Nepali film industry, bringing hits like Jindagani (2000), Kismat (2008), and Andaj (2011) to the silver screen winning three national awards for his movies. “I’ve been involved in the industry for over three decades, watching an entire generation of actors and moviemakers shine, and then recede from limelight. Now it finally feels like Nepali cinema is coming of age,” he said, “It has been akin to watching your child grow into an independent adult.”

But Ghimire, whose last movie—Wada No 6—proved to be a sleeper hit at the box office, is most heartened by the fact that space has been created for both hyper-real avant garde projects and ‘larger-than-life’ mainstream feature films to thrive simultaneously. “New stories are being brought to the silver screen, but not at the expense of multiplex feature films,” he observes, “The thing about movies is that different people are drawn to theatres for different reasons. Some want art to mirror life, others want to be purely entertained—for them the cinema is a three-hour vacation.” Likening audiences’ preferences to ice cream flavours, Ghimire said, “Some like chocolate, some vanilla, others strawberry. What has been great to see is that there is a great appetite for all the different flavours in the market.”

Citing Nepali feature films now being regularly distributed abroad and the hosting of Awards shows in cities like Dubai, Ghimire believes that the added exposure will only be beneficial for the industry in the long run. “Seto Surya and Kalo Pothi proved that Nepali stories can capture audiences around the world. This also goes on to show that Nepali feature films need to eschew to goals beyond just domestic box office success. I, for one, believe that the industry is ready to take that next step,” he said. 

That evolution, according to Ghimire, will mean that moviemakers need to up the ante and produce mainstream movies that can make the rounds in the international film festival circuits. “Nepali moviemakers have to start becoming part of these festivals, either as entrants or jury—that would usher in so many new collaborations and new opportunities. There is a misconception that just independent or artsy films make the cut, but there are hundreds of film festivals around the world that accommodate every genre. We need to come out of our shell and shine.”

Published: 19-03-2017 10:10

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