Nepali film industry shining both nationally, internationally
(Bhesh Raj Karki)
The Nepali film industry is enjoying its heyday, as Nepali films are relatively doing well and receiving acclaim nationally and internationally.
The 2022 Nepali movie, ‘Prem Geet 3’ received applauds nationally and internationally, becoming the reportedly first Indo-Nepali film. Co-directed by Chhetan Gurung and Santosh Sen under the banner of the Aasusen Films Production (Nepal), the Reltic Pictures, and the Sparkling Studio (India), it has been dubbed and released in Hindi in Nepal and India. It was released in around 90 countries and in over 500 theaters in India alone, it has been reported.
The third installment of the successful ‘Prem Geet’ franchise is said to have done very well at the box office, collecting approximately Rs 39 crores globally and becoming the all-time highest grossing Nepali film worldwide in the history of Nepali film, it has been claimed.
Lately, the trend is that Nepali lifestyles and originality have been often manifested in Nepali movies, drawing praises. Contents and technical sides are gradually undergoing reforms. Entry of theater artists who would have got their acting skills sharpened has in part contributed to shining the Nepali movie industry, observed the film director Pradip Bhattarai, who has directed many hits including ‘Jatra, ‘Shatru Gatey’, ‘Jatrai Jatra’ and ‘Mahapurush’.
The pattern in the Nepali movie industry has been somehow changed through the movie, ‘Loot’. Directed by Nischal Basnet, the movie has been praised for its original contents and natural acting skills of the artists, who have entered the motion picture industry from theaters. The audiences also liked the movie.
Investment is another matter of concern in the Nepali movie industry. Also the international market for Nepali movies has encouraged producers, said Bhattarai. “Amounts received from the sale of the distribution right for foreign countries have made it easier for Nepali producers even if not encouraged by the domestic market. This has created a situation wherein we should not hesitate to invest in making Nepali movies,” he said.
The third installments of the movie ‘Jatra’ franchise is selling for foreign countries even before its production. The movie will be directed by Bhattarai himself. It seems such movies in particular that have carried Nepal’s originality are doing very well commercially in the international market. Families have hit theatres to watch such movies, he said.
Besides Nepal, Nepali movies have got a good market in Australia, the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom. Installments of super hits, ‘Chhakka Panja, ‘Jatra’ and ‘Kabaddi’ have been sold for these countries, drawing good returns on investments. Gone are those times when Nepali movies got their back seat in the international market, screening by booking restaurants and community halls due to a lack of their access to theatres. Nowadays, they have found their place in theaters.
Producers of some Nepali movies have got good incomes, said Pratik Subedi, director of the Nepal Eleven Entertainment LLC based in the United States, a company authorised to distribute Nepali movies in the US. “Review of a Nepali movie done in Nepal has had an impact on its business in the US. Nepali movies are showing like foreign ones. Such movies that families together can watch have been in priority here,” he said. He also distributes Nepali movies in theaters in Canada, and the UK.
In the past, they had to book restaurants and community halls for showing Nepali movies, recalled film distributor Subedi. Screening movies by booking places like restaurants and community halls is costlier, he said.
“It costs up to USD 30 for a ticket when a movie is screened by booking places like restaurants and public halls. Besides, the distributors have to make all arrangements. But, all these hassles are eliminated when movies are shown in theaters. It will also be feasible financially and conveniently for the audiences as well,” he said.
Now, ‘Prasad 2’, a sequel of ‘Prasad’, is showing in Australia. Dev Karki of the Namaste Entertainment has agreed with Subedi. “The trend is gradually changing. The movies that have carried Nepali originality and the ones produced under big banners have got a good market in foreign countries. Film distribution rights are purchased based on the popularity of movies,” said the film distributor Karki, adding that distributors in foreign countries purchased the film distribution right even before the production of a Nepali movie.
According to Ram Babu Gurung, the film director and producer, the film distribution right of his upcoming movies ‘Kabaddi 5’ and ‘Ma Hun Degree Maila’ has been already sold for foreign countries. Gurung rose to fame from his ‘Kabaddi’ movie. The sales of the movies even before their production were influenced by a success of his movie, ‘Kabaddi 4: The Final Match’ that was screened last year, he observed.
“We have got a good market in foreign countries ever since the production of a hit ‘Kabaddi’. What we have got as a challenge to produce a good movie is content. We are almost assured about returns on investments seeing a good market internationally,” he said.
Movies made by a handful producers have been sold in the international market before their production, said a film journalist Rajan Ghimire, who has a deep knowledge about the Australian market for Nepali movies. “We can generate good incomes alongside the expansion of the international market by producing movies that are in demand.”
The sales of the film distribution right of ‘Pashupati Prasad 2’, ‘Bhashme Don’, ‘Dimag Kharab’ and ‘Nango Gaun’ for the international market is taking place.
The sprawling market of Nepali movies should be managed for its sustenance, viewed the film director Dipendra Lama.
The producer and artist Rabindra Singh Baniya has had an experience of showing Nepali movies by booking restaurants and community halls in foreign countries in the past due to a lack of its access to theaters.
‘Talak Jung versus Tulke’ was screened in many foreign countries besides Nepal. At that time, VCD sales would take place. Showing movies openly was subject to piracy charges. But, now releasing movies in the international theatres has relieved Nepali producers of piracy charges, he said.
“We film artists should be equally aware and responsible to expand the international market of Nepali movies. Now, our priority should be on producing good movies instead of generating good incomes. Expanding market will give big benefits to us indeed.”
The Film Development Board is also carrying out a research on the expansion of the market of Nepali movies, said its member Rabi Adhikari.
Work would proceed as per the action plan, he said. “Initiatives from the private sector in expanding the market of Nepali movies are praiseworthy. For this, we will work in a way the presence of the government is felt. We are always ready to cooperate and help.”