A few weeks back, I watched two Nepali movies “Hami Taxi Driver” and “Jivan Daata” in Gopi Krishna Hall, Chabahil. I had not been to any cinema hall to watch a Nepali movie for almost 15 years and thus my expectations were high.
Even though I never went to cinema halls for all those years, I had somehow kept abreast of the Nepali movie industry by watching their promos and trailers on televisions, reading about the new releases on various newspapers, reading interviews of hero-s and heroine-s, directors and produces. I have carefully glanced on the posters and pamphlets pasted on street corners and walls.
As I entered Krishna Hall to watch “Hami Taxi Driver”, the first thing that bothered me was the condition of the hall itself. I don’t think it is a new story but seeing those chewing gum stains on almost every seat reminded how cinema goers lack any dignity. Well, I could not ask for more with a Rs. 50 ticket, could I?
I had read in the newspapers, how directors and producers claim that their movies have uniqueness and “completely new” storylines. How they have, with limited resource and budget, managed to complete a movie with innovations in fighting scenes, sets and props. How they have imposed thunderous dialogues and achieved a full masala-daar climax which leaves audiences whistling and clapping in frenzy.
The story of “Hami Taxi Driver” is about two taxi drivers (Ramit Dhungana and Biraj Bhatta) who get mixed up with a web of criminal gang and corrupted police, and eventually, with their supreme courage and heroic actions, they crush out of the gang’s clutch. Nice story, you say? Well, not very convincing.
The whole movie hall erupted in chaotic adulation when Yogi (Rajesh Hamal) was shown for the first time in a super slow-mo. He sure received a superstar treatment. And, Yogi had a catchphrase. Dusman ko lagi Rawan, Sajjan ko lagi Ram, Yogi, Yogi ho mero naam. In fact, almost every character of the movie had a “thego”, a catchphrase which started to sound rather stupid as the movie progressed. Anyways, Yogi appeared in the middle of the movie, had a little flash back of his younger days as a taxi driver himself and then at the end, helped the two taxi drivers in their final battle against the criminals.
The movie ended in an ultimate climax that most of us would already imagine in an action movie. Guns, grenades, time bombs, explosions and lots of booms. A prolonged combat between the “hero” and the “villain”. And, an ear shattering background music through out the climax. Yes, the villains finally died and the hero-s became victorious.
The movie ends but leaves a rather bitter taste, as it was nothing but bad acting, worse presentation; and the plot – as worst as it could be! That is the way I would summaries this movie. I tried to find a logical storyline (plot) through out the movie but it left me scratching my beard. It was very interesting to note that much of the scenes were dedicated to fighting and exchange of loud, abrasive dialogues. And most of the crowd seemed to like it that way. Interesting! Action filim ho ni ta!
Did I say how bad the production of the movie was? The camera works, angles, framing, panning, transitions, sound mixing – everything related to technical aspect was substandard. Not to forget how terrible the print of the movie was. However, I sympathize with the producers. It is quite understandable Nepali movies lag behind in technicalities and production skills because of low budget and lack of resource.
Regrettably, these can not be justifiable reasons for a very shameful presentation and dreadful acting. Granted that stories can be hardly original these days, but plot and presentation can be. Similarly, characters can hardly be unique these days, but expression and deliverance can be.
Actors need to explore the base of “acting” and do an adequate research on the character and the role. What also lacked in their acting were – conviction and passionate delivery. Critics like to use this phrase very much –“bringing life to a character”, well that was sorely missing. The producers/directors need to stop looking “south” for inspirations but search for the ways to internalize with the home audiences. Low budget should not be any hindrance, as these days Nepai movie makers must also have access to hundreds of good quality low budget documentaries. They must learn.
I had a very nice tyme-pass watching “Hami Taxi Driver” (and “Jivan Daata”, the next week), nevertheless both were NOT convincing enough to prove that Nepali movies are really progressing in any terms.
Filim – Nepali way of pronouncing Film
Tyme – Nepali way of pronouncing Time
South – Bollywood movies, especially those of 1980 – 1990s