‘Lockdown has thrown up challenges as well as opportunities for film industry’


With the coronavirus taking centerstage cinema halls have been shut. No films have been distributed or screened. The release of a few films that was supposed to happen has been postponed.

Shootings of films have been halted. As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the globe, the Nepali film industry too came to standstill along with the rest of the entertainment world.

As the country eases the lockdown in a step-by-step manner and is trying to get life back to what we knew as normal, there is hardly any sign of it in the Nepali film industry.

Photos: Courtesy Dayaram Dahal / FDB
Photos: Courtesy Dayaram Dahal / FDB

He opines that if the making, screening and distribution of films are not conducted, then film artistes and other technical artistes of the industry won’t be back to their work.

“Our first aim is to restart the film industry — we have to start the process of making, releasing and distributing films for the film industry to restart. We, FDB, will address restarting the film industry as much as we can within our boundaries.”

Before the coronavirus pandemic the Nepali film industry was thriving, technically as well as in content.

We were seeing stories that resonated with society, films had gotten realistic.

According to Dahal the mentality of the film industry was changing and it was looking for new content with filmmakers motivated to make unique Nepali films, not copying the format of foreign films.

Claiming to have “come far in the terms of making commercial film and technically”, Dahal asserts, “We have established the unique style of filmmaking in the national and international stages. Now, we have to look for stories that are in our society.

And we have to establish the Nepali film industry with our own identity on the international level.”

On a positive note, one of the programmes of the budget for the fiscal 2077/78 also aligns with the theme of uniqueness that Nepali film industry is looking for. “The government will provide subsidy to films that are unique (maulik) and carry the feel of nationalism,” Dahal shares.

Dahal, a filmmaker who is credited with works such as Thuldai, Bhariya, Jetho Kaanchho, Junge, Chandani, is aware of the challenges the lockdown and pandemic has given rise to, but he sees it as a good time to start and pave a new path in the Nepali film industry.

“We have got this opportunity to self-reflect — how our films will be, how to start anew and how to take the industry even further,” he shares adding, “The minds of the audience have also been impacted by the coronavirus, so we have to start anew keeping in mind their mentality as well.”

To make it happen, perceptions of all film artistes and professionals of the industry, film technicians to directors and actors, have to be taken into account. They have to express their perceptions and make the way, he adds as perception of one person or FDB will not be enough in an out-of-ordinary situation like this.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 20, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.