Kathmandu, Sep 27, 2010 (Calcutta Tube) Nearly 20 years after Indian artistes found a niche in Nepal’s film industry, they are set for a resurgence this year, with a director and three actors making a comeback.
Though Bollywood beauty Mala Sinha wowed Nepal in 1966 when she acted in ‘Maitighar’, one of the first Nepali films, it was not till the 1980s that Indians left a prominent mark on the fledgling industry.
The turning point came in 1981 when Tulsi Ghimire, the son of an Indian Army soldier in Kalimpong’s Sindibong basti, left Mumbai to start work in Kathmandu.
Ghimire, who began his career as a makeup boy with ‘Khuda Kasam’ director Lekh Tandon’s unit in Bollywood, left the Hindi film industry after 20 years when his guru told him to discharge his debt by making films in his mother tongue – Nepali.
After the 1981 Nepali film ‘Bansuri’, Ghimire became one of the best-known directors in Nepal, coming up with hits like ‘Balidan’, ‘Kusume Rumal’ and ‘Darpan Chhaya’, considered one of the most successful Nepali films ever, running for 51 days in nine cinemas.
Next Friday, ending a lull of two years when he worked on various scripts, Ghimire, now 60, returns to the Nepali silver screen with his new film ‘Desh’.
After a string of romantic films, ‘Desh’ responds to the sweeping political changes in Nepal – which from a Hindu kingdom became a secular republic – by focusing on politics, people’s perception of politics and the prevailing environment of uncertainty and lack of direction.
‘It feels great to come back,’ says Ghimire, who will start shooting on his 21st film – ‘Mrigatrishna’, revolving round unemployment, – after the Dussehra celebrations are over in October.
In a happy coincidence, three of the actors who were given their first break by Ghimire are also returning to the Nepali film industry at the same time.
In 2001, an aspiring actor from Sikkim, Uttam Pradhan, was cast as the debutant hero in Ghimire’s new film ‘Darpan Chhaya’. While the film was a runaway success, Pradhan bagged the award for the best male newcomer with his convincing portrayal of a blind college student.
However, after acting as the male lead in over a dozen Nepali films, Pradhan decided to pack up and return to Sikkim about four years ago.
Now he is back again with his new film ‘Timro Mayama’ that was released Sep 24 which, coincidentally, is also a college romance.
Pradhan’s heroine in ‘Darpan Chhaya’, Darjeeling girl Neeruta Singh, was among one of the most beautiful and talented actresses in the Nepali film industry.
Debuting in the 1994 film ‘Balidan’, also directed by Ghimire, Neeruta has been a recipient of the best actress award and was among one of the most sought-after models and actors in the 1990s.
However, she too left Nepal about two years ago, heading for Mumbai to do a course in interior decoration.
Now she is back, starring in ‘Desh’ opposite Nepal’s superstar Rajesh Hamal.
However, the most remarkable comeback is probably that of Mumbai girl Triptti Nadkar.
The daughter of a singer mother and an Indian Army colonel, the fresh-faced Triptti, who began acting in Marathi and Hindi films from the age of two, caught Ghimire’s eye in the V. Shantaram studio in Mumbai when she was shooting for the Marathi film ‘Gharche Bhedi’ and Ghimire had come to watch the shooting along with Nepali director Shambhu Pradhan and actor Bhuvan KC.
Ghimire was looking for an innocent for his new romantic film ‘Kusume Rumal’ and he paired up Triptti with Bhuvan KC and the romance became an acclaimed hit, inspiring a remake recently.
‘I acted in two more films directed by Tulsi Ghimire as well as in Sino, opposite Danny Denzongpa,’ says the 42-year-old Triptti, who is also the aunt of Salman Khan. ‘But then I got married to a Sindhi businessman and had two kids. My sons needed me and I took a 23-year-long break.’
Now, with her eldest son Rishav into film direction in Mumbai and the younger one, Dhiraj, an aspiring actor, she has returned to Nepal to complete a film, ‘Ama ko kakh’, where she plays a mother.
In quick succession, she has been signed up for four new films, where she plays mother and sister.
Triptti says it doesn’t bother her that she is no longer playing the ingenue heroine.
‘An actor must be ready to play all kinds of roles,’ she laughs. ‘It’s great to come back.’
(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Nepali movie – Dakshina
Actors- Tulsi Ghimire, Bharati Ghimire, Bhuvan Kc, Niruta Singh