Monday, December 29, 2008

Sano Sansar: Movie Review

Directed by the noted music video director Alok Nembang as his debut, Sano Sansar has a blend of good direction, notable cinematography and innate flow of action. The movie revolves around a simple story of urban youths. This movie, far different from those stereotypical Nepali movies, has a very good composition of music ranging from Sachin Singh to Satya-Sworup, Raju Singh and Jems Pradhan to Anil Singh and Manoj Kumar K.C. Nembang has done a commendable job as a debutante but he still has lot to do to prove himself the best. The main actor Mahesh Shakya alias Karma has been a revelation as an actor. He has still a lot to do for Nepali movies because our Nepali film industry lacks actors of such potential. Other actors also have done fairly good job. Creative minds don't need to go places like Switzerland for shoots, which the cinematographer has proved by capturing thrilling scenes in the city of Kathmandu only.

Still the movie has a lot of flaws like the unmatched twisting of the story and some scenes are difficult to relate with. Alok Nembang hasn’t been able to extract the best from the likes of Neer Shah, whose character isn’t much impressive in the movie. The story-line isn’t that powerful. However, the movie has been able to give new taste for Nepali audiences.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gaighat to Diktel: A photo essay

(Click here to visit Diktel)
Gaaighaat Bazar
(This photo is downloaded one. Except this, all others are my originals. Gaaighat Bazar is the Headquarter of Udaypur district)

The vehicle can't go ahead
(This picture (that I took on the way to Saaune) portrays the condition of roads after the vehicles leave Gaaighaat. The vehicles can go only up to Saaune, approx 40 km east of Gaaighaat. The foot journey, often being called as No.11 vehicle, starts after Saaune.)

No time to care children

Only the beautiful sky is there for us

Now it's time for the lunch
(Porters preparing their morning meal)

The real Nepal to see
(Majority Nepalese dwell here)

Are you still planning to go Goa for the vacation??
(Dudhkoshi- it has great possibilities of tourism from rafting, water motor, boating point of view)

Lorries for Gaighat to Diktel
(Mules running across the Dudhkoshi shore. Mules are used to carry goods from Gaaighat to Diktel and nearby villages and vice versa.)

I did it for whole life

Returning home for Dashain
(At Regmitaar)

A renowned lodge in the way

No, road!! No, lorry!!- Fine, I'll do it
(Sometimes porters carry goods instead of mules)

Here comes Diktel
(Diktel is the headquarter of Khotang district)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Guru of Love: Book review

....a Novel by Samrat Upadhyaya

Ramchandra: The main character; a hardworking and struggling teacher and a tutor.
Malati: One of the main characters; a SLC appearing student, immature mother of a daughter, Rachana
Goma: Ramchandra’s wife
Rakesh: ( 9 year old son of Ramchandra & Goma)
Sanu: (13 year old daughter of Ramchandra & Goma)
Mr. & Mrs. Pandey: Parents-in-law of Ramchandra
Ashok: Another tutee
Mr. Sharma: A widower; Ramchandra’s neighbor living in the same courtyard who yearns Malini for lust; works at Government’s Insurance Department
Harish: Son-in-law of Pandeys
Nalini: Goma’s little sister; Harish’s wife.
Malekha Didi: Malati’s step mom
Bandana Miss: Current Principal of Kantipur School
Mr. Tiwari: Late Principal of Kantipur School
Gokul Sir: A teacher at Kantipur School
Shailendra Sir: A History Teacher at Kantipur School
Namita: 10th Grade student; have affair with Shailendra Sir
Malini’s Daughter
Taxi driver: Amrit, father of Rachana who betrayed her mother at the beginning
Kamal: Ramchandra’s tutee with whom Sanu falls in love

Main theme: disastrous and harsh life driven by immense sexual desires.

Summary and Critical thinking

In literature, portraying human realities come ahead of using decorative language. Samrat Upadhyaya’s novel “The Guru of Love” has well illustrated human realities without the use of overly decorative language. This book has plenty of instances to prove how our impulsive decisions sometimes leave us in dire strait.

The main character, Ramchandra, is an honest person relying on his maximum affordability and not more than that. He lives in a rented flat at Jaisideval, Kathmandu with his wife Goma and children: Sanu and Rakesh. By nature he is a quite and understanding person. He is an efficient math teacher at a poorly managed private school.

Ramchandra’s poor economic condition is often criticized by Mr. and Mrs. Pandey, his parents-in-law. They are worried about their daughter’s miserable life. Ramchandra is often treated disrespectfully with some kind of hatred behavior by Pandeys compared to their other son-in-law Harish, a successful businessman. Pandeys offer some financial help to Ramchandra to buy a house but he couldn’t accept it for he knows he wouldn’t be able to pay back such big lump of money.

Ramchandra is very poor and uncontrolled when he enters love and lust. Although having a very beautiful, understanding and a responsible wife, Goma, in his house, he couldn’t control himself entering into an adulterous relationship with one of his tutees, Malati. Goma, his wife by arrange marriage when discovers their affair, at first, lefts Ramchandra and moves to her parents’ large mansion. But after number of requests by Ramchandra she returns to their flat. Very unnaturally and surprisingly, she also demands his mistress, Malati move into their small quarter. Unable to dissuade her, Ramchandra finds his desires and fears living side by side. Malati, already a mother of a daughter, Rachana, after her relationship with Amrit, a taxi-driver who later betrays her, moves into Ramchandra’s flat. Very unusual to see in a Nepali society or, universal may be all around the world, Malati is treated very well, as her own sister by Goma proving far shrewder than she seems. In the very cramply managed quarter, Goma moves to her children’s room whereas Ramchandra shares the bed with Malati.

Later, Ramchandra develops the psychological distance his family making with him. Ultimately, his only escape is to let go of someone he loves. Luckily, Malati patches up with that Taxi Driver, a widower of his wife, and they marry afterwards.

Ramchandra’s daughter Sanu enters into an affair with one his tutees, Kamal, son of a rich bureaucrat. Sanu, having known her relationship discovered by her father, doesn’t bother to face him eye-to-eye. Ramchandra’s bitter story of the past is often reflected in the hatred behavior of his family members. Even Rakesh, once, admits that he would stand in the way if Ramchandra ever tries to hurt his mother. Ramchandra’s past seems to have printed outgoing behavior in his children.

After sonless Mr. and Mrs. Pandey’s death, Goma and her only younger sister Nalini inherit all properties. Nalini accepts to own the lands and that large mansion goes to Goma’s ownership. But they sell the house and commence a beautiful life on the outskirt of the Kathmandu Valley.

The story revolves around a middle class family driven to the state of quizzed and painful emotional crisis due to triangular love affair, lust and financial woes. When human necessities and desires go beyond our affordability they harm us in return. Humans need to confront their conditions considering the affordability, accessibility and social acceptance factors.

Samrat Upadhyaya has explored love, lust and marital relations only at a surface level. Although “The Guru of Love” is a story of contemporary Kathmandu, the Nepali readers may find the book quite unnatural and unsatisfactory. The book gives the impression of hurrying for a stereotypical quick-happy-end. It seems like a book especially written for foreign readers. I felt a kind of betrayal as a Nepali reader.

Rajan Kathet
September 29, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The best photographer: The Kathmandu Post

(Read from The Kathmandu Post)
A street girl, having partially covered her face with a thin shawl, and leaning against the gate of a temple at Patan Durbar Square, turned her face to the other side as soon as she noticed the lens of my camera stretching toward her. After a few seconds she turned her face hoping not to see me there but my camera didn't miss to capture her half portrayed face. Anyone who saw this picture compliments it as a picture of an Afghan girl living in the bars and I consider this portrait to be the best of all I have ever clicked. It's wonderful to click something forcefully if it couldn't be done unnoticed.

Back in Dashain, I captured from my room, a newly married couple being felicitated for their successful marriage at my neighbor's house. I don't know what I would have done if I had spotted them practicing rather something private or erotic. But as a photographer, probably, no one would hesitate to capture such private affairs because they are always preying for something extraordinary or say, one that other photographers would seriously envy.

You have Nikon D300 in your hand and still you are not a photographer. Being a real photographer is a matter of patience and creativeness. Extracting a world out of a dust particle is not an easy job. Your eagle eyes should frame the informative world inside the camera in no time. But, we, photographers, at the time we are holding our cameras, open our eyes and shut down our heart. At this moment, predation overcomes our humanly sense- we wait to see how a baby reacts before dying instead of trying to save him/her. Kevin Carter, instead of trying to save the flood-stricken child, waited for the vulture which was waiting for the baby to die, to make some extraordinary moves. Later he killed himself in regression.

Abroad, celebrities are troubled out of extent by paparazzi although it is uncommon in Nepal. They spend very little time as common people because of omnipresent photographers hunting them in each move. They try to capture how they eat; how they walk; how they breathe. Viewers are ever excited to see something new and eye-catchy material. So, a photographer is always predating something or somebody to go unusual and exceptional to make it a sensational cover-page photo or, maybe wallpaper. They do not care about the serious consequences their photography may have in the life of the victims. Sometimes photographers really unbalance social life.

Nothing bars photographers. They manage to reach every accident site, bombarded area and dangerous place. Actually, such places are their best spots. Still, they are not fair in their job. They play with their life and still, they cheat and harm others unnoticed. They violate human ethics. All photographers are not journalists and no code of conduct controls them for such exceptions. Anyone would not dare to say -- “I'm the best photographer”, if s/he has best known their perfectionism. Oh, I really forgot--I have to complete the still-documentary 'Temples, the Best Spots for Love-Making'.

(Published on The Kathmandu Post; Post Platform; November 25, 2008
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