Genre: Love story
Director: Hem Raj BC
Cast: Anmol KC, Shristi Shrestha, Gaurav Pahari, Salon Basnet, Menuka Pradhan, Rithik Shahi, Gauri Malla and Krishna Malla
Being screened at QFX Cinemas
Aramv (Anmol KC) has just come to Nepal after completing his graduation in film-making from the US. His father (Krishna Malla) is modern and believes in freedom of choices for his children. But his mother (Gauri Malla) is strict and wants her children to follow traditional norms and values. He has an older sister Prakriti (Menuka Pradhan) and both siblings have common friends Jason (Salon Basnet), Rajiv (Gaurav Pahari) and Lakshya (Rithik Shahi) who are inseparable.
In the quest of making a documentary, Aramv get to know Sujata (Shristi Shrestha) who is a former Kumari — Living Goddess of Kathmandu. They become friends or even more. But will their relationship survive due to the belief that a man dies if he marries a former Kumari?
Being a story of a Kumari and her quest for love, Gajalu is fresh. In addition, the settings please your eyes. You have to appreciate the director for choosing events and places that are close to Capital dwellers such as Indra Jatra, durbar squares, Siddhi Pokhari, Daman and so on.
Moreover, friendship, a nagging mother, liberal father, love between siblings and love stories of youth add to the realistic moments. These comprise the first-half of the film which is fun to watch. However, your interest level from the movie sway after the interval. It gets predictable and plots becomes incoherent.
The screenplay of Gajalu is half-baked and not balanced in writing of the characters. It also lacks the details of characters that complete the characters and the film as a whole. The film also does not explore the love story of Aramv and Sujata.
When it comes to performances, all the main actors like Pradhan, Krishna, Gauri, Basnet, Pahari and Shahi, except for KC and Shristi, have acted well and added life to the characters, thus saving the movie. The chemistry between Pahari and Pradhan, who play a couple in the film, is realistic and has justified their roles. Pradhan is perfect as a liberal bubbly woman who has the courage to speak for herself and can decide on her own. On the other hand, the chemistry between KC and Shrestha doesn’t charm anyone. KC lacks emotion and delivers dialogues flatly in various situations and it is same for Shrestha. And Gauri as mother with traditional beliefs has executed her love and hatred perfectly without overdoing either.
Gajalu should be watched for the tones of friendship, parenthood and love of siblings rather than the chemistry between KC and Shrestha. Other good elements include melodious music which include the Holi song and romantic numbers like Timi Aayou, Muskuraunu Ko Katha.
A version of this article appears in print on June 11, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.