They didn't set out to be radical but perhaps it is the name of the program (Pothi Basyo on Kantipur Television) that has given people the impression that Loonibha Tuladhar and Deepanjali Lama are fire-breathing feminists.
"We were given the afternoon musical slot but we thought why not try a packaged program," says Loonibha with the same bubbly exuberance as her tv personal. In the beginning, the duo was nervous but people in the editing room started rolling with laughter while watching the first episode. "That is when we knew it worked," recalls Deepanjali.
Pothi Basyo soon got a weekly slot with the two playing different characters in every episode. The stories are a light-hearted and self-deprecating look at Nepali gender relations with both women and men ending up as the butt of jokes.
"We opted for a sitcom format, we love improvisation and have lots of fun doing what we do," says Deepanjali. And it shows. The on-screen energy flows easily to viewers who have rewarded the program with high ratings. Often working within a rough outline, the duo used to wrap up shooting an episode in 15-30 minutes but since the cast and crew have grown bigger, it now takes two days. "But we still have a blast on the sets," says Loonibha.
Fame comes at a price. Loonibha and Deepanjali are teased when seen in public. "It is difficult sometimes. People call me thulo pothi and her sano pothi or broiler kukhura and local kukhura," shrugs Loonibha, "we've learnt to take it."
Deepanjali never expected such instant recognition and says she is now ready to take a backseat from all the
limelight. This season on, she plans to let Ranju Lamichhaney take her place in Pothi Basyo. Ranju has acted in serials including Tito Satya and Nepali feature films Basai and Ko Hola Mero Mayalu. But she is still nervous about filling Deepanjali's shoes as she says, "It'll be difficult because I know people will begin comparing me with her and she's been doing such a great job."
Abha Eli Phoboo