हामी यस्तो राम्रो फिल्म बनाउँछौं; यस्तो खर्च गरेर हलिउडमा खिचिने क्यामेराले खिचेर तर फिल्मै चल्दैनन् । पक्कै विदेशी फिल्मको प्रभाव हो । हाम्रो सिनेमा अब्बल छन् ।When I met film producers/directors at that time, this was their general attitude towards films that were not working well. They felt something external was affecting their films. A lot of them blamed the Hindi films that dominated Nepali films. But nobody ever stopped to think about what might have caused most films to fall flat. Then came Loot. At a time when the whole industry was in the verge of collapse, Loot worked wonderfully. It proved the pundits wrong. It proved the hall-maliks wrong. People were laughing, applauding and cheering the success of this film. Nepali cinema had not seen a successful film like Loot (2012) since Darpan Chaya (2001).
Fast forward 6 years. Come 2019: निको भयो भन्ठानेको क्यान्सर रोग फेरि बल्झियो ।Loot was a spark. Today, when I look back and evaluate Loot’s success, I don’t agree with the fact that Loot changed the trend in Nepali films and started a new era. In fact, Loot did not change anything. Loot was a spark and that spark quickly faded away. In an arena of vast empty cosmos, Loot’s success was a spark and before it could light up the whole world, it faded away – and now we’re back in the empty void, the exact spot where we were 10 years ago. One after another film still tanks at the box office (yes now we have Box Office; notice how I used the word “theatre” in the previous paragraph) but the filmmakers are still very much adamant that they HAVE made good films, but the films aren’t working.
Spoiler Alert: Nepali films are 💩Today, in an average of 100 films, 98 of them are of poor or below-average quality. I am not talking about visual quality — that’s one area we have improved exponentially. Take films like Pashupati Prasad, Gopi, Saili and Bulbul as exceptions. These films stand as a testament that not all films are terrible and not all filmmakers are horrible. So having that established upfront, let’s proceed. We have the best cameras, best costumes, best locations – but the soul is lacking. A proper storytelling approach, screenplay and acting is the soul of a film, and when you take that out, all you’re left with is an unbearable hot mess. If I go and put this truth in front of any filmmaker, they will dismiss this fact calling it baseless. Of course, they know they made a great film, and who I am to tell them otherwise? But no matter how quickly and how often they dismiss the truth, truth will continue to persist. And what’s the truth you ask? Nepali films lack quality. What’s Quality? This is a very subjective question. Hollywood makes terrible films all the time, Bollywood has staple dose of horrible films that come out every week. So you cannot really have a single definition of quality; but to summarize the definition of a bad film, I’d say:
- When a film lacks the coherent components of screenplay, structure and storytelling.
- When actors are unable to use accurate emotions to portray a character and connect to the audience or end up building an incomplete character arc leaving the audience bewildered.
- When cinematography doesn’t focus on aiding the storytelling but is used as a device to capture visual elements.
- When the marketing and publicity cheats the audience by establishing false expectation from the movie.
- When an adequate amount of re-writes haven’t been done to fasten up the loose ends of storytelling, thus leaving out many vestige scenes and situations that do not aid the overall story.
- Inadequate amount of research and homework in the subject matter.
- Use of distorted faces and loud acting to justify “comedy” without actually spending time to inject genuine humor into the situation and character.
- When editing isn’t crisp thus deteriorating the overall watching experience.
- Lack of domain knowledge. Applies to producers who do not understand investments and returns, directors who lack storytelling aptitude and actors who are simply stone-faced.
- General Arrogance and inability to accept critical feedback.