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A tale from Sikkim

Monday, 18 March 20130 comments

KATHMANDU, MAR 18 : A problem most palpable in the Nepali film industry these days is how, in spite of spending exorbitant amounts on dazzling promos, films have been bombing at the box office. Audiences are thrilled by the promises, but return disgruntled because films have repeatedly overturned expectations. This has inevitably impacted the industry, with audiences displaying a marked apathy towards Nepali films. Within the context of this somewhat paradoxical situation, Kathaa, a film my Prashant Rasaily, is releasing this Friday without any prior publicity or promotion. Their reason: they ran out of money while making the film.
Speaking at a press meet at Mandala Theatre on March 17, the Sikkim-based director said of his film, “Kathaa is an experimental film. We shot in Ganthang, a sleepy hamlet in East Sikkim and mostly improvised. The content of the film was free to change just like the changeable weather around us.”
“I think audiences will definitely get a sense of this rawness,”Rasaily added.
After the success of his first commercial film Acharya—a production that exceeded a Rs 10 million budget and proved to be a big hit—Rasaily’s second venture is a comparatively low-budget film, with a total of only Rs 5,500,000 spent.
“We weren’t left with money for publicity,” he shared, “but feel that if the film is good, that alone will create publicity.”
Kathaa marks the first solo lead performance by Saugat Malla who shot to fame after performing in films like Loot and the more recent Chhadke. “My role in Kathaa was challenging, and completely different from all the other roles I’ve portrayed so far. I enjoyed shooting for this film and I hope the audience will find it very different,” said Malla.
Other actors in the leading role include Usha Rajak and Sikkim-based Timothy Rai. The rest of the cast is largely comprised of the local people of Ganthang, according to the director.
A statement issued by the producers claims that just six torch lights were used to film the night scene due to the limited availability of equipments. “At first, I was afraid as we didn’t have the proper equipments for lighting,” shares cinematographer Shailendra Dhoj Karki. “But later, I realised that it gave a more natural touch to the film.”
Kathaa is the outcome of a two week long filmmaking workshop for aspiring Sikkimese filmmakers and was produced by Dreamstam Entertainment. It has been selected for screening at the Mumbai International Film Festival in 2013 and the Göteborg International Film Festival at Sweden in 2014.

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