Genre: Social drama
Director: Ashish Shrestha
Cast: Manan Sapkota, Sanjay Gupta, Shibir Pokharel and Nurja Shrestha
Being screened at QFX Cinemas
Safar begins with the journey of Rohit (Manan Sapkota) from Nepal to Los Angeles, USA. While he heads out of the Los Angeles airport, he walks down memory lane. He goes 10 years back where he, Suman (Shibir Pokharel) and Gaurav (Sanjay Gupta) — childhood friends — are living in the land of opportunities. Suman has just graduated and is planning to return to Nepal, while Gaurav, who is studying Science, and aspiring musician Rohit, who is studying music, try to convince him to stay. Suman, however, has made up his mind.
Meanwhile, Gaurav makes an impromptu seven-day road trip from Dallas to San Francisco. It is during this journey that their friendship grow as they share their problems, fears and anxieties and learn to live the moment, but they have to pay a price.
Safar is a film based on bromance, which is rarely seen in Nepali films. Director Ashish Shrestha takes you on a trip of emotions, romance, mischievousness, comedy and life lessons with the three friends.
The film begins at a slow pace with the mischievous acts of the boys, which reminds you of Bollywood films like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Wake Up Sid, and you think this is how boys are. Putting salt in your friend’s coffee, drawing on friend’s face while he is asleep and taking the picture and posting on Facebook are some of the instances and these tickle the bone. In the second-half, the characters’ personalities come out more clearly. And there is more to their story.
Shrestha’s direction is not spectacular using the flashback technique to tell the story. Some sequences in the film are irrelevant, the sudden planning of a road trip without any reason and attending a friend’s wedding party in Las Vegas.
Writer Keshav Khadka has told the story of Nepali youth who are living a luxurious life in the US, encouraging people to live in the US. The film doesn’t tell the story of hardships there as students rather they talk about the problems of their motherland.
When it comes to performance, the actors have done a good job. Sapkota and Pokharel look natural. The audience can relate to Sapkota’s broken dream of becoming singer, gentle jokes and emotional scenes, especially when he cries. Pokharel aka Wiki in the film makes the audience laugh as a GK geek while his helping and positive attitude will impress anyone.
Gupta, who plays a lover boy, has done a good job in the comic scenes. But he has failed to deliver the emotional scenes, which fall flat.
The film is about travelling so it has captured some panoramic views of mountains and hills, but the scenes are not spectacular. Cinematographer Jacob Berardi’s work is average.
Along with the bromance, the journey of Safar becomes soothing with the songs Samaye Jindagilai and Ma Herdai Chhu which have been composed by Sugam Pokharel.
A version of this article appears in print on October 01, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.