Nepali theatre, movies, and women

KATHMANDU: Actors Dayahang Rai and Saugat Malla are not the only actors who started their acting career in theatre and then shifted to films. “Senior film actors Nir Shah, Harihar Sharma, Shanti Maskey among

others also made their journey to Nepali cinema through stage performances. The present generation actors are following the footsteps of these veterans,” expressed film critic Anup Subedi.

Subedi was one of the speakers at Natya Bimarsha — a seminar organised by Nepal Academy of Music and Drama (NAMUDA) at Shilpee Theatre, Battisputali on February 24. Highlighting upon Nepali actors’ journey from

theatres to films and vice versa, Subedi presented his paper on ‘Rangamanch Ra Chalachitrako Sahayatra’ at the event.

Another speaker in the seminar was researcher Archana Thapa, who put forth the issue of marginalisation of women in theatre. “Women are often marginalised in a patriarchal society, and the plight of women artistes in Nepali theatre is not different,” she stated.

As compared to their men counterparts, women are in shadow — be it in acting or directing, Thapa presented in her research paper ‘Rangamanchka Chhayaharu’ at the seminar.

However, she urged the need for women “to take an initiation to come on centre stage. One needs to have courage to take lead,” she shared. But things in Nepali theatre are changing with time — in the past, men used to enact even the characters of women, now few of the plays’ cast is all women. Citing examples of contemporary plays like Telling a Tale: Kitchen Dramas and Yonika Kathaharu, where director and actors are all women, Thapa pointed out to the trend where “Nepali women have started to take centre stage in theatre”.

The seminar also remembered playwright Jyotirishwor’s contribution to Nepali theatre through a paper presentation by Dr Ramawatar Yadav, researcher and Vice-Chancellor of Purbanchal University. Dr Yadav introduced the 13th Century playwright Jyotirishwor in his paper ‘Nepalko Pahilo Natakkar Kavi Shesharacharya Jyotirishworko Parichiti’. He talked about Jyotirishwor’s contribution to Nepali drama through his plays Barnaratnakar and Dhurta Samagam.

The presented papers will be published on journal Rangaraag as per Ramesh Ranjan, Chief of Drama Department at NAMUDA.