Turning Point Part I: Nepali Cinema (1960 – 1999)

Despite of short film history, the Nepali film industry has its own place in the cultural heritage of the country. Most Nepali films are narrative, and are shot on 16-millimeter film. The film industry is also known as Kollywood.

During first 20 years since 1960s, hardly 8 movies were made notably ‘Aama (1964)’ the first official feature film of Nepal along with ‘Maitighar (1966)‘ with then Bollywood star ‘Mala Sinha‘. It was only after 1980s Nepali Cinema got some notable and profitable cinema’s with directors like Prakash Thapa, Tulsi Ghimre, Pratap Subba, etc.

If we look back into Nepali Cinema we can see only few movies, which became the turning point of Nepali Cine industry which took the industry into next level in terms of its popularity, vision and business.

Apart from afore mentioned movies, it was Jeevan Rekha (1980) starring Meenaxi Anand and Shiv Shrestha which had the whole nation throng into then limited cinema halls in the valley. The movie celebrated more than 50 weeks in major theaters in the country. Following the success of Jeevan Rekha, Kanchhi (1984) starring Shiva Shrestha and Sharmilla Malla become another phenomenon in the country with its evergreen melodies and rural hard hitting story.  Tulsi Ghimire after his maiden failure of Bansuri (1981) along with Bhuwan K.C. whose failure debut in Juni (1982), together bounced back with blockbuster Kusume Rumal (1985) starring Bhuwan K.C., Trupti Totlani Narodkar, Udit Narayan. The movie’s success crossed the border and was also big hit among neighboring Nepali communities in India. Almost every movie in 1980s had a good run, but one movie which touched the hearts of the nation was Lahure (1989) directed by Tulsi Ghimire dealing with the love story of British Gorkha soliders.

While 90s were heavily clouted with Bollywood cinema. It was once again Tulsi Ghimire, who brought back audiences in the theater with his ensemble cast  in a melodrama Chino (1991) starring then biggest superstar’s Shiva Shrestha & Bhuvan K. C. together for the first time along with Sharmila Malla and Kristi Mainali. Following success of Chino paved way for action oriented over the top melodrama’s which gave birth to biggest action superstar of 90s – Rajesh Hamal. Despite churning out one after another box office hits since Yug Dekhi Yug Saama, hardly any movie of his can be called memorable. His movies catered mainly the lower stall audiences with underdog revenge story, hero turning into larger than life at the end of the movie. Some notable movies in 90s were Trishna (1991), Jhuma (1993), Deuta(1994), Sapana (1994), Dakshina (1994), Prem Pinda(1995), Mohani (1995), Aafno Birano(1996), Balidan (1996), Allare (1997), Gaunle (1998),        Thuldai (1999), Ek Number Ko Pakhe (1999), etc some of them were hardcore masala potboilers while some of them like Prem Pinda(1995)  and  Balidan (1996)  were critically acclaimed but none of them could be termed as turning point of Nepali Cinema. 90s also saw the rise of actors like Saroj Khanal, Jal Shah, Niruta Singh, Bipana Thapa, etc but the golden couple of 90s were Rajesh Hamal & Karishma Manadhar, who had dethroned Bhuvan K.C. & Tripti .

to be continued …