The director who made the nation go Kabaddi
In the year 2014 we played Kabaddi with Kaji and his unreciprocated love for his soltini Maiya. The film starring Dayahang Rai, Rishma Gurung and Nischal Basnet was much appreciated, and the man behind the film was Ram Babu Gurung.
A year later, the 34-year-old director, who wants his work to be known more than him, is back with Kabaddi Kabaddi — featuring Rai, Rishma and Saugat Malla — which is running to full houses in all the cinema halls that it is being screened. Having been successful in entertaining people, the film witnessed a good opening and did business in crores, and is still counting.
Kabaddi was Ram Babu’s first commercial film. Before this, he had made Anagarik (2007) — a community-based fiction film of the Gurung community — and later on eight to nine documentaries.
Anagarik garnered “good and bad reviews that motivated me. I felt I can pursue a career in film-making!” After making documentaries for different projects and learning during his struggling days, he felt a commercial film should be made. And he wanted to do something different.
Believing “we should make a film based on some culture and community — which has its own story, tradition and experiences (getting closer to reality) to make it different — be it commercial or non-commercial or art” and using the formula of hero, heroine and villain for commercial appeal, Kabaddi was envisioned (in 2012) and made.
Ram Babu was not “satisfied” with the film-making that was going on then regarding mainstream films. With his first-hand experience — as he had hung around the film circle in his initial days in the industry (mid 2000s) — he got over with the Bollywood-inspired Nepali films with hero, heroine and villain.
“That time got me interested in film-making but I didn’t want to do those kinds of movies. Perhaps I had matured. And my perspective on films became different as I started to mingle with film-makers like Tsering Rhitar and Nabin Subba of a different dhar. My link to that (mainstream) circle also distanced automatically,” he expressed adding, “I may be making film on their style (of Rhitar…)”
Correcting his previous mistakes, Ram Babu went on to make Kabaddi Kabaddi which has become successful. The third instalment of Kabaddi is in the picture but it depends on the audience’s reaction as well as on Ram Babu.
“If the audience is not irritated with the Kabaddi elements, Kabaddi 3 will be made. We will have to wait a few weeks to see how much people will love Kabaddi Kabaddi. But that is not all — I should also be able to give a new taste of brand Kabaddi to the audience. Only then will the third version be designed, but after a few projects,” he explains.
For now, Ram Babu’s films like Purano Dunga and Degree Maila are in the pipeline.
- Ram Babu was a bit greedy and interested to become an actor for which he learnt dance and went to the gym. He has also acted in few films as character actors. When being a part of shooting and seeing the director telling actors to “cry, submerge in water, yell…I felt that I can’t do this and become an actor. It is not in my nature”.
- He doesn’t care about dhar. Be it made in any technique, a film has to be made in a good way.
- From Saajan till now, “I like Salman Khan. I don’t like his films but I go to watch his films anyway.”
- When he was studying in college, he thought to himself that he wouldn’t take a job — be it master, doctor or engineer — he would rather go to a village to plough the fields.
- He says, his film-making is inspired by Chinese film-makers like Zhang Yimou (The Road Home) and Ang Lee.
- He enjoys making fiction films. “I won’t do documentaries from now on. I did that for about four years where one documentary would last five to six months.”
- Ram Babu says he is shy by nature but insists, “I open up when I drink sometimes during parties. My real self is revealed then!”