Nepali Times
Must See


To make a good film, many disparate entities must come together and gel perfectly. A decent film emerges from the morass of production which involves people running around setting up lights, laying down heavy cables, scrambling to iron clothes for costume changes, and providing food for the cast and crew: all in a 12-hour day.

Additionally, the assistant director who is in charge of making things happen on time almost always loses her mind, the producers are constantly fussing about how their money is being spent, and, of course, there is the poor director to whom everyone turns when things go wrong, and who must be prepared to fix all problems from hissy actors to disgruntled crew members. It is always difficult, therefore, to eviscerate bad films once one knows how much blood, sweat and tears have gone into even the most mediocre of productions.

Loot, a gangstery heist film, set in our now very urban Kathmandu could certainly have been a better film if only it had been slightly shorter. An editor with an unsentimental eye would have sliced away all the unnecessary, repetitive dialogues and the interminable action sequences garnished with the slightly too loud flesh-meets-flesh noises.

The main problem with Nischal Basnet's film is its script, which he also wrote. Not entirely original and more than a little derivative, it starts off with a very prescribed, almost pedantic, introduction into its five main characters, all of whom are in desperate need of money. This is a film written for an ensemble cast, and no particular character comes across as the preferred hero. The actor Saugat Malla as 'Haku Kale' is theatrical and exaggerates his scripted heavy Newari accent unnecessarily, Karma as 'Nare' is good enough with the obligatory red eyes that go with his character as a nocturnal gambler, Prateek Raj Neupane plays 'Khatri' a small time drug/arms dealer with shaggy hair, Dayahang Rai is genuinely hilarious as the unemployed side-kick and loyal friend of 'Pandey' (Sushil Raj Pandey) the star-crossed and slightly too soulful lover of 'Ayesha' played by a charming Reecha Sharma.

The plot of the film is simple enough. We see Haku Kale recruiting the other four characters in order to plan and execute the robbery of a bank. The cinematography is excellent, innovative and slick. However, when the camera moves so much in a film it's usually because the director is worried the story is not strong enough. Not even the best actors can salvage a flawed script. A good script, on the other hand, can be ruined by bad actors. Good writing is the base of good film, and good casting is key.

In order to make good films in Nepal we can no longer rely on gimmicky scripts and innovative camera angles. We must concentrate on writing stories that truly matter, and develop characters with more moral and psychological complexity. Action movies are fun enough, and Loot has its moments, but for truly edifying cinema, we all need to work a little bit harder. Nepal is full of stories, one just has to find the ones worth making for the cost, and the hard-work that goes into any and every film.

DVDs reviewed in this column are available at Music and Expression, Thamel, 01-4700092

1. Lynx
...So how is this a must-see?

2. Harke Dai
what heartless pedantry.
anyone with a soul would be touched by this clearly valiant effort by a newcomer possessing a sense of humour to match his considerable talent. Concocted with a minuscule budget and zero industry experience, this movie is pure heart and sole, pure love and passion.

For me, although I'm not a professional movie reviewer, those qualities are clearly what make for heroism in cinematic efforts. And that was the case here. I can see the humans clear and raw in this movie, on BOTH SIDES OF THE CAMERA. That is the reason why so many people have fallen in love with this new nepali film.

Although you are very much entitled to look at this movie from whichever critical angle you are inclined to - and lets not forget this us YOUR review, i must say reading this writeup left a bad taste in my mouth. Please learn to notice context and appreciate circumstance. And perhaps you will see human beings for what they are. 

3. jhankri
@harke dai "notice context and appreciate circumstance" is this the "nepal ko lagi ramrai ho ni" line of thinking?

4. Prabinesh
Only if there was a "like" feature in these comment then I would "like it" on yours Harke dai. 

5. thuski
Brilliantly accurate, Sophia! 

I personally thought the movie lacked a bit of realistic acting from 'Haku Kale'. I haven't met any idiosyncratic character in life who speaks in an exaggerated way like 'Haku Kale' does. Besides nepali actors and directors are still employing theatrical, stage style acting in films which is such a shame. 

Nischal Basnet wanted a movie that would make a lot of money, so there was a slight disregarded for method acting. Either this or he doesn't understand that a block buster can have a lot action sequence without stage style acting. I thought the camera movement & editing (which felt like someone was on acid) at times would have induced an epileptic fit.

I give a thumbs up for effort and vision for Loot, but execution probably wasn't as good as it could get. And the sad thing is, I didn't sit through the whole movie. Boyfriend and I left after intermission. It was rather too much to take! 

6. a fan of loot
this wonderful, exciting and first-of-its-kind nepali movie deserves a more intelligent, less presumptuous reviewer - not someone who starts her review with a dumb little essay on "what makes a good film" and ends with another dumb little essay on "how to make good films". talk about being preachy. "stories that truly matter", hmm...wonder if this girl knows what she's talking about.

7. FF
I thought the reviewer made it a point to recognise the effort that goes into every film production in her critique of this film. I don't understand where the offended comments are coming from. I've enjoyed Sophia's reviews so far!

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)