Pandemic Killed Nepali Cinema

January 10, 2022

The new era movies were just making its way, makers were just trying their luck with successful sequels and suddenly pandemic hits around the globe. Everything comes stand still, 2019 lockdown was severe. People got stranded and were even starving for food. How can anyone talk or even think about Cinema, you say.

Reality is stranger than fiction. During the lockdown, highly consumed commodity was entertainment. ISPs had to increase their bandwidth more than 10 folds to meet their clients demands.
Streaming platforms were the biggest revenue makers after hospitals in the country. OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime officially entered Nepal with their attractive subscription plans. The street hawkers selling pirated DVDs were nowhere to be seen. Everyone were glued onto their TVs, laptops or mobile phones consuming world cinema. Stars who were never heard of from South Indian industry became like household names.
Even makers from Nepali film industry were awe stricken after watching those movies. Suddenly, it dawned upon them what kind of crap they were churning out years after years in the name of entertainment.

Post second wave of Covid-19, the theaters slowly opened its doors. ‘Bar Peepal’ had disastrous run at box office. Even after super success collection of Bollywood movie “Sooryavanshi” in Nepal, none of the other Nepali movies could make any kind of impact.
Then came the biggest ‘Litmus Test’ movie from South; ‘Pushpa’. The kind of collection which this Hindi dubbed Telugu movie garnered were like something which was never seen even for a biggest of Nepali movies. The distribution rights of the movie was bought for not more than 2 Lakhs INR which is less than a budget of Nepali music video song. The collection which it made was above 10 Crores.

After competing with Bollywood movies for years, then with biggest holiday Hollywood movies, now Nepali film industry have to compete against South Indian dubbed movies. South Indian industry is very large industry dominated majorly with Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada languages movie. If every big South Indian makes across the border to Nepal, then every week there will be at least ONE BIG STAR movie from South alone. Then there is Bollywood ‘A’ list star movies with likes of Salman, Aamir, SRK, Akki, Ajay, Hrithik, Ranbir, Ranveer, etc. Then comes Hollywood franchise movies from Marvel, DC, Bond, Animations, etc. So every week Nepali cinema will have to face tough competition with at least two foreign movies. Exhibitors will always give preference to those international movies, which means the screens for domestic Nepali movies will be limited to not more than 20% in major towns.

How can a movie made in the budget of 2 – 5 Crore make recovery with just 20% screens ?