In its all-too short run at the theatre, mockumentary Dasdhunga, starring Anup Baral, attracted plenty of attention. Many Nepalis still wonder what was really behind the accident that killed UML leader Madan Bhandari in 1993, and what his legacy would have been had he lived. Framed as a detective story, Dasdhunga raises more questions than it answers.
Like Mero Euta Saathi Cha before it and Kohi Mero.. after, First Love breaks away from conventional Kollywood staples in its production values and a cast that is noticeably younger, hipper, and more comfortably westernised. Some label these 'advances' as merely cosmetic, and First Love gained a certain degree of notoriety in its portrayal of a woman who forgives her boyfriend-turned-rapist.
Dir: Anup Poudel
Nepalis seem to love watching documentaries, and plenty have forged their own way in the genre. Twenty-year-old Anup Poudel from Kavre was recently declared one of the five winners in the Democracy Video Challenge that received 2,200 entries. His simple short uses colour and the thematic backdrop of a chemistry lab to define what democracy means to people around him. Watch it on youtube.
Khari ko ghero
(The Caucasian Chalk Circle)
Dir: Max Webster & Mia Theil Have
The story of a peasant girl who rescues the abandoned child of a rich family, and raises him as her own at all costs is hardly a matter for comedy. But Max Webster and Mia Theil Have's Gurukul staging of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, full of deadpan hunour and storytelling through music, was a hit with Nepali audiences.
Sapana ko Sabiti (xxx)
Dir: Sunil Pokharel
Columnist CK Lal's debut as a playwright starred Nisha Sharma in the capable hands of Gurukul's actor-director Sunil Pokharel, an enviable combination. The circular narrative charts the journey through Nepal's recent history of Sapana, an animated traffic cop, whose flippant demeanour masks the doubts and fears of her alter ego, Drasta.
Dir: Deepak Rauniyar
Rauniyaar's follow-up to last year's powerful Chaukhati could also be classed as a bikase film, dealing overtly as it does with gender oppression. In Pooja, Rauniyar challenges society to improve its treatment of pregnant women, in this case played by Mithila Sharma. Background score from Kutumba.
Dir: Kesang Tseten
By some estimates there are over 3 million Nepali migrant workers abroad. Kesang Tseten has done this diaspora and their families in Nepal a great service by documenting their trials in the Gulf. The harrowing story of Dolma, accused of murdering her Filipino flatmate in Kuwait, brings home the tragedies that lurk behind the dreams of poor Nepalis compelled to seek their fortunes abroad.
Exit the King
Theatre troupe Nepal Shakes took on one of Eugene Ionesco's most celebrated plays, Exit the King, but the most obvious targets probably weren't watching. This staple of the Theatre of the Absurd portrays the last days of Bérenger the First, a once-omnipotent monarch, who faces a crisis of sorts when his court is reduced to two wives and a few loyal servants.