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Interview

Hope to see Nepali film industry to thrive again: Director Shrestha

It's irony to have hardly one or two shows for a Nepali film against 15 shows for Hindi a day
Laxmi Balayar

Laxmi Balayar

 |  Kathmandu

Deepak Shrestha made his directional debut with the film 'Gaunle'. The lead actors were Rajesh Hamal and Bipana Thapa in the film. Following the release of the first film, Deepak's upward journey began.

After that, he created dozens of successful films including Amako Ashirbad, Papi Manchhe, Dukha, Parkhi Basen, Himmat. However, after the film directed by him began to flop, the offer also decreased. His last film 'Bacha' was released. The film bombed at the box office. Then Deepak also stayed out of the limelight.

After years, Deepak has made a comeback on the big screen with the movie 'Parkhi Basen Timilai'. This film was released on Friday. Against this backdrop, Nepalkhabar talked to Director Deepak Shrestha. Excerpts:

Your movie 'Parkhi Basen Timilai' has just been released. How do you feel?
This is my 27th film. However, even today I still feel the same as when the first movie was released. Whether the audience likes it or not, and how they take the film, these things do cross my mind every time a movie is released.

You have been in the film industry for over two decades, how different do you see the current Nepali film industry from the past?
Everything changes with time, and, so do we. At the time when I worked in several films in the limelight, digital technology was not developed. We had to shoot movies on celluloid. Times have changed today. Films are shot on digital technology and under large canvases. The Nepali movie industry has taken a digital stride.But, unfortunately, it is difficult to get Nepali films screened in theaters now. This is the problem I am facing now. I have been making Nepali films for 28 years. If the film we made does not get screened in the theaters of Nepal, where will we screen it? My film barely gets one or two shows in a hall that runs 15 shows a day. Cinema halls in Nepal are giving priority to Hindi films, sideling Nepali language and cultures in their own home.

How do you remember the previous atmosphere?
It was the time of the reel. Since it cost a lot of money to make a reel, only five to six reels used to be made. The reels were hauled by motorbikes to the halls across the valley. When my movies Gaunle, Jeevan Saathi, Ajambari Maya, Dukh, Papi Manchhe, Himmat, Parkhi Besen were released, the police had to be called to the hall for security. There were four times as many spectators inside the hall as there were outside. Recalling that moment feels like history. When Nepali cinema gets a good screen in the hall, then the audience of Nepali films will increase. How will Nepali films prosper if they are not screened in movie halls? Booking less shows before the release gives a wrong impression among the audience. While a Hindi film gets 15 shows a day, a Nepali movie will get hardly one or two shows. If you don't give a show, audiences may presume that it is not a good movie. When they think this way, the film will automatically hit the buffers.

A comeback after a long time and making a film with a new lead actor didn't seem like a risk?
There are always risks in the film industry. Even in Hollywood, films made with big budgets are found to have flopped. Even till the 27th movie, it feels to me like taking the SLC exam. Work by accepting the risk. I am connecting those who are struggling to get into this field. Not only artists, I have also given space to musicians, singers and technicians. I think the new ones should be given a chance. I believe that the content of the film should be better than the new actor. If the content of the film is good, the audience will not even look at the technical aspect. What matters most is how much the scene touches audiences. If a new artist performs well with good content, it, without a doubt, will be successful.

Most of the Nepali films of comedy genre are hitting big. Has the audience's taste changed?
Audiences are always looking for different taste. We should not take it otherwise. Now-a-days, there are movies from comedy to politics in theme. That's a good thing, too. Every genre of film has its own audience.‘Parkhi Basen Timilai’ is a film based on the love story genre. I have tried to show that the love is eternal through this film.

How do you see the future of Nepali films?
The Nepali film industry is on the verge of collapse. Many multiplex halls have opened. Ironically, these cinema halls prioritize Hindi films over Nepali films. The government also did not bother to have a film policy.Further, the people who are in this field are migrating every single day. Now, if a Nepali film is to be made in America, no one needs to be taken from here. Everyone from artists to technicians are found there itself. There may be temptation to go abroad. However, the film career, to me at least, can never be greater than going abroad. They might have left after not seeing their future in this field. And this trend is ever increasing. I hope to see the Nepali film industry to thrive and flourish yet again during my lifetime.



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