The industry and I have a give-and-take relationship.
For me the biggest achievement would be that we set the film industry in motion. We created the environment where Nepalis started to watch Nepali movies.
...I am thinking, ‘Can I live without a partner?’ and I am realising the importance of having one. Now I feel the need of a companion. I wouldn’t say there isn’t anyone in my life right now, but I wouldn’t also say that there is anyone as such as well.
People have taken to heart some of my works, identified with those, and seen me as their
It is his unassuming nature and humility despite his Mount Everest-like status that makes Rajesh Hamal not just a superstar but a great individual.
For thousands of Nepalis, he is ‘the’ icon and they of course love him dearly. However, despite the love and the affection that thousands lave upon him, deep down inside he is just like the rest of us — he feels lonely and needs someone special in his life.
Elaborating on his ‘still single’ status, Hamal says, “In my 20’s, I didn’t want to rush into marriage. Then as you delay it, you start having different views and everything about your life starts changing. Then you get so used to doing things on your own that you start questioning whether you can adjust with another person. But at this stage in life, I am thinking, ‘Can I live without a partner?’ and I am realising the importance of having one. Now I feel the need of a companion.”
So, does this mean that he is finally giving up his bachelor status?
“I wouldn’t say there isn’t anyone in my live right now, but I wouldn’t also say that there is anyone as such as well,” equivocates this actor refusing to give a straight answer and clearing
up the mystery that has been associated with him it seems forever.
The second most discussed thing about Hamal is his hair with unbelievable stories floating about his crowning glory.
“The only time I’ve had a different haircut was when I was five. After that it has always been like this,” says the superstar hopefully answering everyone’s questions and other silly queries.
Imbibing different cultures
Growing up as the son of a diplomat (his father was working with the Foreign Ministry), Hamal
recalls his childhood days as a rollercoaster ride, moving from one country to another every four or five years, from India to Russia to Thailand...
And the experience of delving into such diverse cultures has shaped him to be the individual that he is today.
“I guess you don’t feel at home in one culture, but then you don’t feel alienated in any culture too. You become receptive of any culture and can feel at home anywhere. It has taught me to assimilate myself anywhere and acclimatise myself to any given situation,” he says of his formative years.
Following his passion
Though he grew up in a close-knit family that comprised his parents and four siblings, Hamal never shared his dreams to join films as he knew it would not be accepted as a career option.
And though he suppressed his secret desire, his fascination and passion for films got the better of him and when he did join films, there came a rift between his father and him.
“At that time, I stuck out as a different species. I was the black sheep,” he says.
After completing his masters from Chandigarh, he went to Delhi where his father was stationed and started modelling. As fate would have it, round the same time his uncle was directing a Nepali film — Yug Dekhi Yug Samma, he was offered the lead role.
“At that time I just did it because I felt it would start something. I didn’t look at it as a career then,” he recalls.
A superstar is born
But fate had other plans.
Hamal’s first film was a superhit. The film also coincided with a mini-revolution that was taking place in the Nepali film industry. More films were being made at that time.
“People accepted me from the very first movie. My work was appreciated,” says Hamal, but he had his doubts whether he could give it continuity.
His doubts were put to rest because he was offereed his second film in the next six months. Then the offers started pouring in. After that there was no looking back.
And for the next 10 years, Hamal was at times working 15-16 hours at a stretch, non-stop, running from one set to another.
It was only after this tiring decade that he took a ‘long break’ of two months.
It was then that even his mother agreed that he had taken the right decision by joining movies. Unfortunately, his father did not live long enough to watch any of his movies.
Here to stay
His commitment and undying passion for films made him a name to reckon with in the Nepali cine world, and also won him accolades and, of course, a huge fan following.
“The industry and I have a give-and-take relationship. For me the biggest achievement would be that we set the film industry in motion. We created the environment where Nepalis started to watch Nepali movies,” says Hamal.
And the thing that elates him is “the fact that people have taken to heart some of my works, identified with those, and seen me as their representative”.
These were the very reasons, the emotional attachment, loyalty towards his fans and a sense of patriotism that made him stay back in Nepal and not venture out into other greener pastures.
“Honestly, I didn’t want to start from scratch in another place after 10 years here,” says Hamal.
A superstar, a real life hero, Hamal at times does feel confined by the status. “Initially you do enjoy it, but there comes a point when you want to diversify, and instead of doing just formula movies, you feel like experimenting.”
And he wishes to tell his own stories with his own movies, which he hopes to fulfil in the future.
Of the industry that he loves so much, Hamal says, “We are very far away from perfect. There are a lot of weak points that need to be rectified. But for this industry to grow, the situation of the entire country has to improve. We are one of the poorest countries in the world, and with so much political instability, civil war and all the changes happening around us, it is a great accomplishment that we have this mechanism alive.”
Compassionate by nature, Hamal likes to reach out to the downtrodden, especially the children, who are not able to get this once in a lifetime opportunity to live their life as children.
Besides being an actor, Hamal describes himself as impulsive poet who expresses himself through his words. Photography is another medium through which he expresses himself — he totally enjoys taking photographs, especially capturing the life and moods of people. Hamal is inspired by autobiographies — the challenges people face and their coming out triumphant makes him go forward in life with new zeal.
Some prominent awards Hamal has won —
•The best actor award twice
•Decorated with the Prabal Gorkha Dakshin Bahu twice
•Declared Artiste of the Decade (1990-2000)
•Has won the Rastriya Gaurav Yuva Samman
Hamal was also chosen as the Goodwill for Anti-drug campaign by the Home Ministry in 2007 and 2008
His biggest blockbusters include —
•Hami Teen Bhai
•Yug Dekhi Yug Samma
His upcoming movies —
•Jai Shiva Shanker