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Happiness

Caught between a super-star and normal-being; impressive plot to spell

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Selfie King

While writing this review, I am aware that I don’t give any spoilers or tell the story, so it might read a little unconventional. Before deciphering, let me clear the thing out to the ones who were busy chastising that the movie might have got inspired from the Hollywood-hit Joker, here is the answer—nowhere even near.

The movie starts with a unique note to keep the audience guessing which reads, “Fictionalized True Story;” with this, the movie can resemble any artiste portrayed by Bipin Karki with the screen name Gopal Dahal aka Chankhe Selfie King. Actually, the movie portrays incident of three days of this screen-entertainer, who has earned name and fame, and kept self-busy in the Tinseltown. The conflict is, he does not know that his popularity has already reached to a peak, and now is in the verge of decline, which he is unaware of. Nevertheless, he believes to be a star, and acts appropriately with fans.

This fictionalized true story can resemble lifestyle of that particular group of artiste in the country, who has definitely earned a lot of fan-followings, but has not been able to maintain their stardom, with the money they are making, even working round-the-clock, jeopardizing family and social life. They even don’t realize that it is the optimum height they can reach, from where, either they have to maintain, or fall as the competition has gone cutthroat with newbies with better talents are barging the way to get in. When Selfie King was performing in Lamjung, and another artiste whom he gave the break, was performing in London—this proves all about his declining career, which he was unaware of.

Basically this is a story of a celebrity— without mask and behind mask, and how society treats him differently when in different colours. Even in the most tragic times of his life, the society wants him to perform to make them laugh, and even when he cries, people interchange it as a part of a show—bursting in laughter— a paradox of hollow celeb life.

The movie shows the back-stage life of a celebrity who has worked his heart out to be in that position. His deteriorating family life, extra-marital affairs, financial hardships, and how he gets ditched with his falling career are the main elements. He cannot help, not to be a dipsomaniac, as per the nature of his job, but at the same time, he is concerned that his family and fans do not know about it. In the movie, in many incidents this particular state-of-mind is picturized perfectly.

The movie looks professional in terms of making, and for story telling, improvisation is not done, keeping it simple with the life-events moving in order. The progression is slow through out the movie; as per the nature of the plot, and for the people who thought it to be falling under comedy genre, actually, it is nowhere even near—as it portrays all elements to put itself in social drama with tragic side on high. The directorial venture is good in all aspects, as all the characters look realistic. As the movie is journey-based, so whatever characters, the protagonist comes through have some relevance in the plot, metaphorically and/or realistically.

Looks like the team has done enough workshop before going in for the shoot, because one shot even goes uninterrupted for almost 8 minutes with heavy dialogues and with melodrama of four characters, still it is showcased to look natural. Instantly, it is followed by another perfect long shot, a confidence that the venture showed on the team. There isn’t much experiment done with the background score, anyways it sounds natural.

As far as the songs are concerned, Keki Adhikari’s stage number proves to be pacifier to the audiences when the melodrama has reached to the boiling point. The tragic number, which follows soon after, happens to be the crux, as it portrays so many hidden feelings.

 

When one feels that the movie would have been over some 30 minutes before the actual close, actually, they must have missed the trick, as the movie goes through many twist and turns until the credits lit up, leaving ample room to guess what would happen at the end.

The cinematography is great; the only room left to show the skills was on the travel from Kathmandu to Salleri-Solukhumbu, which is cashed in well. The drone shots are well affected to glorify the roads and scenery to awestruck viewers’ mind. What is done more beautifully is, how they mingled the shots to the mood. When the mood of the character happens to be gloomy, they got the perfect shot even from high range.

The use of patriarchy, and beliefs in Hinduism are well connected in the story. How a son is more important than others, when it comes to doing the final ritual of parents, and how Panchang—a belief that if someone dies during that time, the dead should be cremated in stipulated time, or it may kill five members of the family is well justified to add twist in the concluding plot.

In some aspects the movie has lacked. In an incident when it is said that the vehicle is jam-packed when Selfie King demands for the front seat, but the visualization shows different. One of the front seats is empty, and even one seat is left vacant in the middle aisle. May be the director wanted those extra space to root camera for the moving shots. The last scene can be talked about because the character is shown to be carrying something that has a strong symbolic meaning in the plot, but analyzing it from the ‘crunch of time perspective,’ is it relevant? May be the director wanted to add an extra doze of emotion.

Don’t know whether the censor board has loosened its screws, as none of the obscene words are censored—I remember them to be at least five times.

After a long drought in Nepali Cinema, not only production team can heave a sigh of relief but also avid-cinema lovers. The initial days might not be the heydays but—with word-of-mouth spreading, it should pick up the pace.

The verdict is, do watch it, as the movie should not disappoint you. Anyway, don’t expect any slapstick comedy but be ready to be touched to your emotional senses.

Rating: 4/5

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Writer of International Best Selling Book, Rockin' Rollin' Rolpa: Know America, Explore Nepal

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    February 9, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    I remember his name to be Gopal Dahal not Hari Dahal, Hari is the character who invited Selfie King to Salleri.

    • Mahendra Joshi

      February 9, 2020 at 1:47 pm

      Noted. THANK YOU VERY MUCH

  2. ปั้มไลค์

    February 9, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Like!! Thank you for publishing this awesome article.

  3. Anonymous

    February 9, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    Well written. It’s looks like you have a positive eye when writing review of Nepali movies unlike others

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Happiness

Senti-mental approach to drive; political theme lags to slay virus

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Proposed Gautam Buddha International Cricket Stadium

With an appeal that half of the profit amount of the movie will go to the charitable Dhurmus-Suntali foundation that is making a mega structure— Gautam Buddha International Cricket Stadium in Bharatpur, publicity of the movie got started, and it looked like the plan worked as the movie theaters got thronged with people who wanted to be a part in this noble cause, and enjoy Nepali movie after a long drought—a win-win.

Sitaram Kattel and Kunjana Ghimire Kattel are proven names in TV, so audience were anticipating something good, and they got somewhat which they were looking for. Though, there is ample room for improvement in the movie on various aspects.

The movie starts in the backdrop of the civil war, flashback showing two brothers from the same family, involved in different roles— one being a rebel, and another being a soldier. The story starts after 21 years from where the preparation of house of representative election is on high.

The first half is paced with the development of characters mainly associated with two different parties— democratic and communist in particular. The lead played by Sitaram as Dhrubaram is associated with communist party and his wife portrayed by Kunjana as Juneli with the other— not because she is inspired by the party’s dogma, but her father played by Rajaram Poudel is the contestant who is in a pressure of winning the election by hook or crook as the party has given him the last chance, even ignoring his previous failures. This happens to be the main conflict in the first half, resulting in a feud between husband and wife.

In the plot, Dhurbaram is shown to be a kingmaker because he holds a key for the deciding votes, which he can bring from a squatter settlement (Ekta Basti) whose kingpin happens to be his dear friend played by Dayahang Rai. With much pressure from wife and mother, he decides to support the party with the candidacy of his father-in-law. Before the interval, the poll results are out. Unexpectedly, the party that Dhrubaram is shown to be supporting loses with a slight margin. Here the votes from the squatter settlement happen to be the decider—so his party members, father-in-law, and wife smell a rat on him for a foul play.

A shot from the movie

The second half that is quite slow in progression tells us whether there was conspiracy plotted by Dhrubram for the election decider. The voters from the squatter settlement were coaxed to vote in an agreement that they will get the property papers. After winning the election, Dhurbaram’s party leader neglects the commitment putting him in grave family and social trouble. Undecided, he eventually decides to save the squatter as his wife and father- in-law too have taken shelter in that settlement after losing all assets and capital in election. Whether he is able to save it or not, and the entire struggle are portrayed in the second half.

The elongated comedy part revolves around the family feud, which at times gets boring. Political atmosphere is captured appropriately with realistic sets and properties. The scene when people are shown to be practicing their franchise looks natural. Alcohol and cigarettes are shown quite rampantly in the shots, which could have been avoided in many scenes. And not wearing helmet while riding motorbikes has been a prominent culture in most of the Nepali movies, so it has also taken a leaf out from its counterparts.

As far as the making is concerned, the story telling could have been better by breaking the plot sequence— to and fro as it gets very predictable. Sitaram and Kunjana look to be overshadowed by their earlier hit-characters, so it gets hard to get appealed by them. Sandip Chettri, who plays land mafia looks a little loud so as Wilson Bikram Rai, as a cunning party cadre. Daya and Buddhi Tamang have looked natural as per the nature of their role. The dialogues are rich and understandable despite carrying a political theme.

Fight sequence and kidnapping scene look over-dramatic, and the end does not look too convincing. Camera work is fine, though use of excess moving shots can make one jittery at times.

The justification of the title Senti Virus is not deciphered anywhere in the movie. May be the production team has left it to the audiences. Who is the actual virus is not clear, and so as the meaning of senti is not justified.

Overall, the movie based in the political themes, despite drawbacks, it has been able to leave a strong message that you cannot trust political leaders to the fullest, and have to contribute yourself to bring changes in the society. It is good to see that movie in political theme is gaining popularity, and attracting a lot of youth.

Since the movie is made for a social cause, it should not fully disappoint, as there are a lots of positives in the movie, and at least people can come out of the theater felling that they too added a brick to the mega project.

Verdict: 3/5

Cast: Sitaram Kattel (Dhurmus), Kunjana Ghimire (Suntali), Dayahang Rai, Wilson Bikram Rai, Buddhi Tamang, Rajaram Poudel, Basant Bhatta, Kamalmani Nepal, Sadip Chhetri, Pawan Khatiwada, Alish Rai, Sunita Ghimire

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Happiness

Dibesh Pokharel, his youtube world, long before the Audition

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Dibesh Pokharel aka Arthur Gunn who is making a round on social media for his performance on American Idol audition 2020, has actually been quite active on YouTube through his own channel for long and been publishing his works through the channel.  But then, there are thousands of talented people yet less known.  Dibesh Pokharel was one of the talents who was not that well known among Nepalese viewers and listeners until recently. However, as said above, he has been quite active on Youtube and spotify and you can check some of his songs that he has uploaded there and also an interview by Abhisek Mishra on a radio show during his Nepal visit in 2019.

Out of all his numbers, Nyano Ghar is our favourite so far.  Nevertheless, miss not other songs from him available in his youtube channel.

It’s good to see that he got the attention he needed to pursue his music career in a style he is comfortable with.

 

 

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Happiness

Full Oscars speech of Joaquin Phoenix

Phoenix’s speech during his acceptance of Oscars award for Best Actor for his role in the movie Joker.

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I’m full of so much gratitude now. I do not feel elevated above any of my fellow nominees or anyone in this room, because we share the same love – that’s the love of film. And this form of expression has given me the most extraordinary life. I don’t know where I’d be without it.

But I think the greatest gift that it’s given me, and many people in [this industry] is the opportunity to use our voice for the voiceless. I’ve been thinking about some of the distressing issues that we’ve been facing collectively.

I think at times we feel or are made to feel that we champion different causes. But for me, I see commonality. I think, whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice.

We’ve become very disconnected from the natural world. Many of us are guilty of an egocentric world view, and we believe that we’re the centre of the universe

We’re talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender, one species, has the right to dominate, use and control another with impunity.

I think we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world. Many of us are guilty of an egocentric world view, and we believe that we’re the centre of the universe. We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakeable. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.

We fear the idea of personal change, because we think we need to sacrifice something; to give something up. But human beings at our best are so creative and inventive, and we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and the environment.

I have been a scoundrel all my life, I’ve been selfish. I’ve been cruel at times, hard to work with, and I’m grateful that so many of you in this room have given me a second chance. I think that’s when we’re at our best: when we support each other. Not when we cancel each other out for our past mistakes, but when we help each other to grow. When we educate each other; when we guide each other to redemption.

When he was 17, my brother [River] wrote this lyric. He said: “run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.”

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