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Movie Review: Cha Maya Chapakkai

Cha Maya Chapakkai is a movie to be rated 4/5 considering the facts and factors mentioned below.

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Comic timing toward political innuendo takes plot atop

Entering in a movie theater with a mindset that the film could be a dud can backlash, as watchers can witness more of negatives aspects, eventually ruining their investment and time.  The best way to do it is, watch till the end, and don’t set any mindset for better results yield.


This week’s release ‘Cha Maya Chapakkai,’ scared the hell out of the production team, as can be seen from their Facebook status & posts, as they were perpetually alleging some people playing games on their back to ruin the movie by spreading negativity. What made them scare so much? Either the movie was mediocre, or the movie fraternity was against them for some vested interests. Nevertheless, hard work pays off, which is likely to happen as most of the theaters got thronged with people on day one.  Thanks to the publicity in both ways—pro and con.  Also, the enthusiasm in theater staffs, most probably working on a commission basis, proves that they sensed post Dashain bonus which may help to clear their festival dues.

The days to follow and the box office results will have the verdict, as the initial prediction could be just a tip of the iceberg.

Let’s divulge the name, why didn’t they cash on the Chakka Panja franchise? Did they take a big risk? If this is the risk, then it is its worth. People well getting obnoxious with the self declared Raja character that Deepak Raj Giri was portraying, who was shrewd, and clever, if not cunning, and was entwined with the legacy to cut loose on financial and social matters. Nevertheless, other side characters are more or less the same as shown in terms of their dialogue delivery, and acting. The production team’s astrological values looked like to have guided them to put the term 6 (cha) in their venture, but in this case, there was not any relevance of this name in the plot, rather some solid name even without 6 would have made the movie name sound relevant, and not make them not sound overtly superstitious.

Another question is why Deepa Shree Niroula did not direct this movie with back-to-back success in her previous projects? Who knows, she could have directed the movie better than the incumbent. Also there was a special appearance room for her at the final scene with Magene Budo, where again she was ditched. This question is easy to ask, but could be hard to answer because the production banner also shows her name, full fledged. The plot is interwoven on the backdrops of two villages—one with water resource abundance, and the other with its paucity. And how political indifferences with vested interest can hamper the commoners is the conflict. What makes a good political leader—the principle, dogmas they follow or, their caliber to solve problems of people to quality of life? These questions are definitely answered with a tinge of love, romance, which antagonists try to use as honey trap that eventually backfires, ending the story in a super happy mood. Almost all the dialogues are superb and natural as they use the body language, complex vocabularies, complicated idioms & phrases alike our top-notch political leaders, and the good part is, they are not mimicked. There is no question what so ever about acting, as the characters fit in their roles perfectly, leaving no room for error and improvement.

Nothing is perfect in the world, neither the movie is. As the movie does not fall under slapstick category, so the maintenance of verisimilitude becomes essential and eminent. Some scenes are slacked, as when Jeetu Nepal is shown mulling over to crash on the marriage ceremony to elope with the bride with scores of people attending the function. And the very next scene, he is running with her hand-on-hand, leaving audience scratch their head in anguish. Cinematography is good with proper use of wide, short, close up shots, and not using excess drones shots add to the glitters. Talking about the background score, at times they relied on the classic revolutionary song from nineties, ‘Gaun Gaun Bata Utha’ which is fitting; however, with only one romantic song, they still could have worked on a revolutionary song and used it for background score too. With people complaining, not having enough songs, this would have really done a world of good to the movie, as the sequence for this song was well set in the second half when the full blooded revolution on high.



The movie is inspired from the true incidents as shown in the initial credits, so there is no question about the conflict, and the introduction part is also taken care with nice narration, so as story telling stands at its best, but the conclusion which I think has been improvised—as for a movie it needs a little fabrication has lacked as characters are shown changing their mind so easily—which does not look too practical as they were presented bold and stubborn throughout. Unlike its first half, which was flowing nicely, the second half is little sluggish, and predictable, as per the standards. Another point, the team should consider in their forthcoming projects, which they have been repeating time and again is to follow basic traffic etiquettes. Yes, in emergency cases, it is understandable to ride double pillion on a bike, but if the riders are made to use helmets, that can add realistic touch and also avoid cautionary note of ‘follow traffic rules’ on lower right of the screen. Heroes look better in capes and also in helmets, while riding motorbikes.

The movie is well recommended for political, apolitical and nonpolitical. Having said that, for a developing country, which has been witnessing mammoth political changes every decade, it is hard to say, who is nonpolitical, so it is recommended for all. It could be best for the people who feel pride of themselves, just by claiming to have not known the name of president and prime minster, as they don’t like politics. This is the second venture of team where they have mingled politics with farce. The first one— Wada No. 6 too revolves around this theme. On that case, they were skeptical, so they hid the theme by not portraying any political affiliation in the trailer. In this project, with the previous success for which they harvested accolades, they were confident to highlight politics as one of the themes, as they have clearly shown flags of political parities fluttering nice and high in the trailer.

All in all, go watch it. The phenomenal comic timings on a sensitive subject will pay off for your time. Definitely, try to pick the ones in your circle, who say, they don’t like politics, and they will get the answer why did not they like it, and also they will get answers for their political innuendoes.


This review is by Mahendra P Joshi.  He is the writer of internationally well-received book, Rocking Rolling Rolpa.  His book has been placed in Hollywood Database.  Mr. Joshi occasionally likes to review books and movies.  He had previously worked for The Himalayan Times.  

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

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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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Happiness

Ganja Gun – Bob Marley

Ganja Gun is a song performed by a Jamaican singer-songwriter Bob Marley. The song is believed to be performed by Marley on the Babylon by Bus tour. The song was never released.

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Bob Marley

About the song “Ganja Gun”

Ganja Gun is a song performed by a Jamaican singer-songwriter Bob Marley. The song is believed to be performed by Marley on the Babylon by Bus tour. The song was never released. However, there are some controversy floating around, if the actual singer of the song is Bob Marley.

About singer

Robert Nesta Marley, professionally known as Bob Marley was a Jamaican singer-songwriter born on 6 February 1945. In 1963, Marley along with his friends founded a Jamaican reggae band Bob Marley and the Wailers and released their debut studio album The Wailing Wailers in 1965. In 1973, after releasing their fifth and sixth studio album; Catch a Fire and Burnin’, the group attained international success. The band disbanded in 1974, and Bob Marley began his solo career. His debut album as a solo artist is Natty Dread in 1974, despite the break-up of the band, Marley released this album under the band’s name. Bob Marley became a Rastafari icon and also was considered a global symbol of Jamaican culture and identity. He was also controversial in his outspoken support for the legalization of marijuana. In 1981, Bob Marley died due to a skin cancer (acral lentiginous melanoma).

Lyrics

I’m gonna smoke’a de ganja until I go blind
You know I smoke’a de ganja all a de time
Smoke’a de ganja when I’m with friends
We gonna smoke’a de ganja until the very end
Whoo, ganja ganja
Whoo, ganja gun
Whoo, ganja ganja
Whoo, ganja gun
Whoo, ganja ganja
Whoo, ganja gun
Whoo, ganja ganja
Whoo, ganja gun
Smoke’a de ganja every day
Ya, you gonn’ smoke’a de ganja in many different ways
You can smoke’a de ganja in a big fat bowl
Or you can smoke’a de ganja in a bong
N’ keep ya’ very lucky you can smoke it in a bong
When you smoke it in a bong
You are baked all night long mista
Whoo, ganja ganja
Whoo, ganja gun
Whoo, ganja ganja
Whoo, ganja gun
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