Two rival private terrestrial television channels Kantipur Television and Image Metro were launched this week. They have one thing in common: Bhusan Dahal. The suave and self-assured 37-year-old chief producer at Kantipur Television helped establish both stations. Today, Bhusan is thrilled by the strides that television in Nepal has taken, both technically and content-wise.
Bhusan's career graph is impressive: from a rookie reporter at Nepal Television 15 years ago, a stint at Young Asia Television in Colombo, three years at Image Channel, to the production house Divyadrishtee, and then to Kantipur Television. Most viewers still remember Bhusan from his Sunday Pop program on Nepali TV, which at the time was the only program on English music. "I was really raw then," Bhusan recalls, "but NTV gave me invaluable experience and got me hooked into television." In the slick new studio at Kantipur, Bhusan doesn't mind admitting that he has learnt through mistakes, using every opportunity that came his way.
The Sri Lanka-based international channel, Young Asia Television enabled Bhusan to broaden his horizons, but there was something missing. "I realised the importance of working and creating something in your own country," he says. So he returned, joined Image Channel which at that time produced software for NTV and helped launch Divyadrishtee which didn't work out. Bhusan is philosophical about that particular loss. "It was ahead of its time and there weren't enough buyers for our production," he says.
But at Kantipur Television, Bhusan is in his element: using his wide experience to create a vibrant, exciting and technically superior channel for Kathmandu Valley. His colleagues say he is a hands-on boss, looking at concept, design and execution of not just his own program, Fireside, but other broadcasts as well.
"TV is a huge challenge," he says, "one needs to be able to translate ideas into pictures continuously and effectively." Leading a handpicked team of 150 people from journalists to beauty queens, Bhusan is keenly aware of his responsibility to owners of the station who have already invested Rs 500 million in the venture. But Bhusan has his eyes set on the future, when the network will broadcast not just in the capital but to the rest of Nepal.
But what of the competition? Bhusan is clear about the task ahead. "it's going to be survival of the fittest." It looks like Bhusan is doing better than just surviving. He's thriving. (Hemlata Rai)