Of a man and his mission

Rabindra Pokharel


‘I believe fiction is not my forte. I strictly want my documentaries to present facts and not fiction’.

The pen by itself is not mightier than a sword. There’s always the ingenuity of the mind behind it that establishes its might. And if the same ingenuity is employed elsewhere the result is no less potent. Though journalism is certainly one of the media that brings forth the latent power of a pen. Mohan Mainali is one of those rare names that have given a new direction to journalism. Mainali who started his career as a print journalist was an active member of the political movement of 1990. “Journalism has immense powers if petty prejudices are sacrificed in the pursuit of noble objectives. Journalism is not only about political squabbling and employing its influences to ulterior objectives. It can be an effective tool in bringing justice to those wronged,” he says. Mainali remained a political analyst during the early years of the inception of democracy and actively contributed his analyses to vernaculars and journals in the country. But then there were other neglected issues that had to be brought to the fore.

Realising the urgent need to address these issues, Mainali decided to venture into this forsaken arena. Back in the 90s Mainali was a member of the group called ‘Bichalit Bartaman’,

an unofficial organisation staunchly championing environmental and social issues. While print media had flourished considerably by the time, little if any, efforts were made to televise the burning issues of the period. Mainali has screened his documentaries in several international film festivals in Netherlands, United States and Japan and have received worldwide acclamation, the most popular of them being ‘Killing terraces’, seeking peace in Karnali

‘Living Martyrs of Jogimara’ and ‘Timber to Tibet’. Each of these documentaries vividly portrays the abject living conditions of the people living in the remote mountains. These documentaries have been able to grab the attention of those who could effect a change. The latest of his documentaries ‘Six Stories’, recently screened at the Mountain Film Festival and Himalaya Film Festival, Netherlands deals with the predicament of the victims of insurgency and about how the cycle of violence continues.

Mainali’s documentaries not only serve the informative purpose, but have an added aesthetic value to them. Though Mainali has himself scripted, directed and produced all of his documentaries he still wants to be called a journalist. And there apparently seems to be an asset for Mainali when it comes to separating facts from fiction. Though fiction can be a reflection of reality he doesn’t reveal any intention to venture onto the big screen. “It involves a big budget and I believe fiction is not my forte. I’m happy as a journalist as could be. I strictly want my documentaries to present facts and not fiction,” Mainali says.