Nepali cinema has come a long way since its first release Aama in 1964. During the first few decades there were just few handful actors as there were just one release in two to five years. Theaters were small in numbers, focused in the capital mostly showing Bollywood movies. From late 70s till late 80s & early 90s Bhuvan K.C. dominated the industry. Shiva Shrestha, Krishna Malla, Arjun Jung Shahi, BiswoBasnet, etc also made their name during those days, but ultimate romantic musical hero was always Bhuvan K.C. . Shiva Shrestha did gave competition to Bhuvan, but Shiva got opportunity to work in Pakistani movies, so he left Nepal. Till early 90s, the word superstar was never tagged to any of then actors. Most of them had one or two releases in two to three years, so there was always curiosity of any movie release. Makers didn’t know was it star power or scripts which attracted the audience.
Then in early nineties things changed. Finally, a superstar arrived. An actor who had more than 17 releases in a year (including cameos) and almost all of them made money. That too, not just for one year but year after year. Producers would line up outside this actor’s house every single day to sign him. Directors would wait for even 3-4 years just to sign this actor. Having this actor’s face on the poster of movie would guarantee recovery. The euphoria of Rajesh Hamal nearly wiped out older generation stars like Bhuvan K.C, Shiva Shrestha, etc. Most actors like Sri Krishna, RameshUprety came in industry playing second fiddle to Rajesh Hamal. Many actresses like Niruta, Bipana, Jal , Jharana, Rekha, etc made their name playing opposite Rajesh Hamal. During those days, there weren’t advance booking system in theaters, so movie ticket black marketers were ruling the roost. Rajesh Hamal was their bread-winner. Every Rajesh Hamal release would get houseful board in theaters. From producers, distributors till exhibitors everyone cashed upon ‘Rajesh Hamal’ frenzy.
Interestingly, if we look back today in his more than 200 movies filmography hardly we see any of his movies which was different, unique in terms of his performance or even script. Apart from ‘Deuta’ & ‘Basanti’ hardly has he experimented much in his movies in terms of acting and performance. The actor did same kind of roles which almost all actors did then. Most of his movies were social action dramas with one or two chart buster numbers. That was standard template of any ‘Rajesh Hamal’ movie. Though, Rajesh Hamal started his career with 1991 romantic musical ‘Yug Dekhi Yug Samma’, he established his career in industry as ‘savior’ in the oppressed society who would ultimately avenge to do justice for a society, family, lady love or himself. In most of the movies his action scenes coupled with strong one liners just elevated his angst against the society or antagonist. May be how lousy was the script but once Rajesh Hamal made entry on screen, everyone started clapping and money spent by audience got justified. He became larger than life figure for his fans. And yes, that is what we call superstar.
Show me any one actor in the past or in present who has such enigma like Rajesh Hamal. None of the actors in today’s generation can guarantee even decent opening forgot about the success. Today people want a wholesome entertainment with good story, music, action, romance, etc. Having an actor’s name and face is not sure shot success formula like before.
So, the recent controversy about whether Rajesh Hamal is a superstar or not, is totally unwarranted.